“Tom” was a good and decent man. He worked hard his whole life, and had good values. He raised 2 beautiful, strong, and kind children. He then adopted another child to give him a better life.
Tom also struggled with alcoholism for much of his life. He actually went sober for about 10 years, but then relapsed. One morning, a police officer pulled Tom over for driving under the influence. Tom blew a .37 BAC.
The officer brought Tom to the county jail. Tom was too intoxicated for the jailers to even book into jail. So they just left him in a cell for 11 hours. He underwent delerium tremens (DTs) while in the cell and even had a seizure according to jail records. The jailers called the medical provider contracted to the jail, but the nurse and physician assistant on duty told the jailers to do nothing.
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Tom died the next day in jail of alcohol withdrawals. Alcohol withdrawals are common to alcoholics who abruptly cease consumption. An alcohol withdrawal jail death is a known risk to both jailers and medical providers. The medical provider knew that, but still chose to not offer any treatment when called by the jail. And the jailers knew better than to let someone into their jail who was too intoxicated for them to even safely book into jail.
We represented Tom’s kids and brought suit against the jail and the medical provider for deliberate indifference to Tom’s medical needs under 42 U.S.C. 1983, negligence, and medical malpractice.
After 2 1/2 years of litigation, the parties settled for $3.5 million about a month out from trial.
We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Tom’s kids – their strength and decency is a testament to their father.