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Jail's medical liability

Discussion in 'Probation, Parole, Incarceration' started by ZNCR, May 4, 2022.

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  1. ZNCR

    ZNCR Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    A family member was having a mental crisis. They were consequently arrested for domestic violence. Based on a past event, I figured the jail would send the family member to the hospital for a 2 week hold. The jail rep. said once bail was posted they would do an evaluation and then make a decision.

    Bail was posted and the family member was released despite strong protest. However, five days later that family was arrested again. Now two months later that family member was found to be incompetent to stand trial. Is the jail's medical staff liable for releasing someone who was evidently not well?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    No, not likely.
     
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  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Government agencies have immunity. And when they waive immunity a tort claim lawsuit is a very expensive and complicated proposition.
     
  4. ZNCR

    ZNCR Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yet, a quick search reveals countless examples in just the past few years, where county jails paid settlements for wide host of varying offenses.
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Great - contact one of the firms who handled a settlement.
     
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  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Liable to whom and for what? Your post doesn't indicate that the release of this person resulted in any damage to anyone or anything. Also the fact that, two months later, the person was deemed incompetent to stand trial doesn't mean the release two months earlier was inappropriate.
     
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  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Those plaintiffs paid small fortunes to their attorneys to get those settlements.
     
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    We don't have enough information to answer that. But as a starting point, what actual harm resulted from that release? Was anyone seriously hurt as a result of it, for example? If there were no harm done while he was out (and I assume that you'd have mentioned any such harm) then there is nothing for which anyone could sue from the release.

    Note that being found not competent to stand trial is not the same thing as saying the person is a danger to anyone. Lots of incompetent people are no danger to anyone, they just aren't sufficiently able to do certain things for themselves.
     
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  9. ZNCR

    ZNCR Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The family member was pulled over for reckless driving and consequently charged with battery against a law enforcement officer days after being released from jail. The family member has never had any previous issues with driving or law enforcement. The incident only happened because the family member was not well and should've been sent to hospital for two weeks.

    You can assume anything. However, if someone has a mental health crisis and months later is found to be incompetent to stand trial then it is highly unlikely they were well enough to be released. Even the jail director admitted that the family member was psychotic but had improved and that was before the failed competency test
     
  10. ZNCR

    ZNCR Law Topic Starter New Member

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    You mean paid small fortunes via contingency fees? Many of these settlements involve people who are not any where close to being wealthy.

    Here's a settlement that just happens to involve the same group who evaluated my family member:

    "Kinlaw was awarded a total settlement of $1,058,761, with $700,000 of that amount in compensatory damage and over $300,000 in punitive damages."
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    There is a HUGE difference in facts.
    (EDIT: Not to mention that that case happened in Virginia.)

    Tell me, do you have an expert who says what the jail should or should not have done? Are YOU an expert?
     
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  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Duplicate post - sorry
     
  13. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then why didn't the "family" send him to the hospital or convince him to go?
     
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  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but that's not a logical conclusion. First, mental health is not something that is static; it can change over a period of even a few days or a few weeks. He might have been competent to stand trial when released but had further declined by the time the determination was made that he was incompetent.

    Second, and more importantly, the purpose of jail is NOT to hold mentally ill people (although unfortunately a lot of people in jail are mentally ill, the mental illness being part of the cause that lead to them committing the crime that put them in jail). Mentally ill people have a right to bail and release from jail the same as everyone else. If the person was thought to be risk of harm to himself and others, then what should be done is have him/her committed to a mental facility for treatment. Jail is terrible for many people with mental illness; it often makes the illness worse, not better.

    The bottom line is that detention in jail prior to conviction of a crime is about ensuring the person will be around for the upcoming hearings and trial, and where the person is determined to be a risk of harm to others, that is also taken into account. But simply being mentally ill alone is not a reason to keep a person in jail. Indeed, that would violate that person's rights.
     
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  15. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ok...so...?? Are you advocating that the officer who was the victim of your family member's crime ought to be able to sue the jail's medical staff? The cop certainly could sue your family member for the assault.

    Out of curiosity, where did you obtain your medical degree and do your psychiatric residency?

    It's important to emphasize that the only facts you've relayed are that this person was "having a mental crisis" (whatever that means) and was "consequently arrested for domestic violence" (i.e., the DV arrest was somehow a result of the "mental crisis"). For unknown reasons, you "figured the jail would send the family member to the hospital for a 2 week hold," but that didn't happen. Then someone (you?) posted bail (maybe that person ought to be liable here), "and the family member was released despite strong protest" from some unidentified person. Five days later, the family member committed assault against a cop.

    So...again I ask, liable to whom and for what? Whom do you believe is entitled to money for the stated events, and why? Regardless of how you answer these questions, if someone believes that he/she is entitled to sue someone over the events described, that person should consult with a local attorney.
     
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  16. ZNCR

    ZNCR Law Topic Starter New Member

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    There is not a difference. A jail has certain responsibilities, in both examples the jails failed, resulting in preventable damages.
     
  17. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The fact that you can't see and/or refuse to see the differences show that you are (1) biased (understandably) and (2) ignorant of both legal and medical matters. Your family member is free to seek out legal and medical advice of their own.
     
  18. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You want to explain to us why it was the jail's responsibility to send him to a hospital but the family had no such responsibility?
     
  19. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Let me ask a question based on a set of facts that more closely aligns with your relative's case. If the inmate was extremely clumsy, but had been released and then broke his wrist five days later, would the jail have any liability?
     
  20. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    What preventable damages? So far, you've failed to state what damages resulted after he was released, much less how those damages were caused by the release.

    The Virginia case to which you referred is indeed very different on the facts. There, the prisoner was treated by the prison and the prisoner sued for medical malpractice alleging that the treatment provided was substandard and led to permanent damage to his hand. In your relatives case, the problem is not damage to your relative caused by substandard medical treatment that he received in jail. It's a very different problem, at least as you've framed it, of being released when you say he should not have been.
     

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