Nation’s Largest Wrongful Death Settlement Paid to Suffering Family

- David Boehrer

In February, the largest wrongful death settlement the nation has ever seen was awarded to the children of an inmate who received inadequate health care in prison and died a few days later. The settlement totaled $8.3 million, and was paid by the nation’s largest prison healthcare provider. The settlement took about four years to come to fruition.

Wrongful Death Resulted from Inadequate Medical Attention

The inmate’s death was found to be due to his not receiving adequate medical attention. Three days prior to his death, he was arrested for failing to appear in court. Subsequent to his arrest, he was placed in jail in an isolation cell. During his intake medical exam, it was found that he had a history of alcoholism. However, despite this finding, the jail’s nurses failed to administer the necessary treatment to the inmate that would have prevented him from suffering alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

In August of last year, the inmate began hallucinating and lashing out in his jail cell. He broke food trays and clogged the toilet. Prison deputies attempted to subdue the inmate after these actions by allegedly beating him and using a taser on him. The actions caused him to go into cardiac arrest, and he died shortly after.

The prison healthcare provider and the jail’s county settled a federal lawsuit that was pending almost two years. This particular settlement was with the inmate’s family, which filed a separate lawsuit for the death of their father.

The Right to Adequate Healthcare

Part of the theory of the case is that prisoners have the right to adequate healthcare under the Eighth Amendment. This lack of access to healthcare, which is what caused the inmate’s death, was a violation of the Constitution – both California state, and federal.

Unfortunately, this also was not the first time the prison healthcare provider had been accused of medical neglect. Though previous accusations have been in other states, including Arizona and New Mexico.

If This Happens to You

If a loved one was killed due to the negligent or reckless acts of another, you may be going through emotional trauma and worrying about how you are going to provide for your family and pay bills. Seeking the advice of an experienced wrongful death attorney, like David Boehrer, is a step in the right direction.

For an initial consultation on your wrongful death case, we welcome your call to our office at (702) 750-0750.