Lawyers for the family of a mentally ill jail inmate who was discovered dead and naked in a Colorado detention facility in April 2014 allege that the inmate was denied his psychiatric drugs and was physically abused by guards.

The deceased inmate, a 53-year-old man, was being held in a Canyon City jail on a felony charge. The official cause of death noted in the coroner’s report was “undetermined.”

Days ago, the inmate’s family filed a wrongful death suit in a U.S. District Court, identifying Fremont County Sheriff James Beicker, jail deputies, and the health care contractor as defendants.

The Facts of the Case

According to court documents, the plaintiffs in this case (i.e., the inmate’s family) are alleging the following facts:

  • The coroner was not privy to all the information surrounding the inmate’s death.
  • Further forensic study and jail records uncovered that the inmate had suffered broken ribs and other injuries that were not self-inflicted.
  • The inmate had been taking clonazepam, a psychotropic drug used to treat anxiety disorders. Patients who take clonazepam often become dependent on the drug and can suffer withdrawals if taken off the medication.
  • Jail authorities took the inmate off of clonazepam without tapering his dosage, causing him to spiral into physical and psychological distress, symptoms of which were reflected by the man’s drastic 30-lbs. weight loss and his development of incontinence.
  • At one point, witnesses to the inmate’s withdrawal noted that he was “screaming and seen kicking, punching, and clawing at the walls and door in an apparent effort to escape imaginary people in his cell.”
  • In an effort to control the inmate, deputies repeatedly pepper sprayed him and shocked him with a stun gun.

It remains to be seen how the defendants in this case will counter these allegations – and whether the wrongful death case will result in some sense of justice and recovery for the inmate’s family.

What Inmates May Sue for

Cases like this wrongful death suit raise an interesting question regarding when inmates have the right to sue the jails, prisons and/or law enforcement authorities holding them. Just some grounds for possible inmate lawsuits against detention facilities can include (but may not be limited to):

  • Traffic accidents injuries if a crash happens while inmates are being transported
  • Assaults, including inmate-on-inmate assaults authorities fail to stop and assault at the hand of jail/prison authorities
  • Medical malpractice.

Financial Recovery Options after a Wrongful Death: Contact a Denver Personal Injury Attorney at the Klibaner Law Firm

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, we know that no sum of money can ever make up for that profound loss. We also know, however, that pursuing financial recovery can be critical to obtaining justice and being able to deal with the tragic loss.

At the Klibaner Law Firm, a Denver personal injury attorney is ready to provide you with aggressive, effective advocacy as you pursue financial recovery.

You can call us at (303) 863-1445 or email us using the contact form on this page to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers and find out more about how we can help you. From our offices based in Denver, our attorneys provide superior representation to injured people throughout the Denver metro area and Colorado.