Los Angeles County to pay nearly $6M in jail inmate lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to pay nearly $6 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed a jail inmate was left brain damaged and disabled because his medical problems weren’t properly treated.
The negligence suit was filed on behalf of Juan Garza, who was 22 when he was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of attempted murder of a stranger.
He’d been diagnosed years earlier with schizophrenia but hadn’t received any medication.
Supervisors were told that while in the downtown Los Angeles Twin Towers jail, Garza tried to kill himself by repeating falling backward and hitting his head on the floor, City News Service reported.
The lawsuit says a social worker evaluated him but saw no signs of a medical emergency. However, within hours his condition became life-threatening.
His attorneys said he suffered a seizure and brain swelling, leaving him with permanent brain damage and requiring 24-hour care.
The Board of Supervisors approved a $5.9 million settlement Tuesday.
Safety check policies in the jail have since been revised and additional cameras have been installed to keep watch on inmates.
Garza had been charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking a 54-year-old woman with a crowbar.
A database maintained by the state’s Department of Mental Health showed a 2009 diagnosis of schizophrenia, “but with no follow-up or medications,” according to a summary submitted to the board.