A 17-year-old boy died at a Georgia jail and his mother is blaming the city of Pelham for his death. She has filed a wrongful death suit against the city and police department.
The boy was arrested in December 2010 on robbery charges and was originally placed in the Fulton County Jail. However, when that jail became too crowded, he was moved to the Mize Street Municipal Jail in February 2011.
The boy, who first reported his illness on February 24, complained to jail staff of nausea, stomach pains and lower back pains. The boy was placed in an isolation cell because he frequently soiled himself. He was then found unresponsive on March 18, 2011. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation performed an autopsy and determined that the boy died from appendicitis and complications from a bowel obstruction.
The lawsuit names as defendants the police chief for the Pelham Police Department, the city manager of Pelham, the nurse and doctor at the jail, as well as four correctional officers. The lawsuit claims that the city and police department did not provide skilled medical professionals and did not train staff to identify serious illnesses and respond when they occur. It further alleges that jail staff ignored the boy when he became sick and did nothing to attend to his medical needs.
The Fulton County Jail no longer sends inmates to Pelham, but it is unclear whether this is a result of the boy's death.
In Georgia, a wrongful death cause of action allows individuals to seek recovery for the full value of the victim's life without deductions for personal expenses that the victim would have incurred. The value of a person's life is not confined to monetary worth but also includes intangible value as well. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury is left to determine the compensation to award in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "S. Georgia city sued over Fulton inmate death," Marcus K. Garner, Aug. 14, 2012