Partner Keith Wyatt and Associate Attorney Rosa Noyola obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the County of Los Angeles and three Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies in a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiffs claimed that the County failed to provide their 37 year-old daughter the necessary care during a medical emergency while she was incarcerated in the women’s county jail, resulting in her death.
The plaintiffs’ daughter suffered from several serious medical conditions, including congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, among others. She also suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which required a nurse to administer her asthma inhaler. On the morning of the incident, the plaintiffs’ daughter was coughing and needed her asthma inhaler, so her cellmate pressed an emergency call button to summon deputies. When the deputies found the plaintiffs’ daughter face down on her cot, they called for nurses and provided emergency assistance until the nurses arrived. The nurses provided emergency medical assistance until paramedics arrived to transport the plaintiffs’ daughter to a hospital, where further resuscitation efforts continued, but were unsuccessful.
The plaintiffs contended that medical malpractice and a deliberate indifference to their daughter’s medical history during her incarceration led to her death, and requested the jury award them $2.5 million in damages. Keith and Rosa successfully established that the deputies upheld their duty to promptly summon medical care for the plaintiffs’ daughter on the morning of the incident, in accordance with Government Code Section 845.6, which immunizes public entities and its employees from liability to prisoners for the failure to provide medical care, except in cases of a medical emergency or cases of medical malpractice by a medical care provider. Keith and Rosa proved that the deputies and the County Jail medical personnel did all they could reasonably do to provide emergency medical aid to the plaintiffs’ daughter, who died from cardiac arrest.