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Failure to Check on Inmate Results in Death


Litigation Type - Wrongful Death Accidents

Client Injury - Death

Our client's son was a 19-year-old man who was arrested for DWI. After he was booked, given an alcohol breath test at the county jail and placed in his holding cell, he was left alone and unobserved for nearly two hours.

The young man hanged himself during that time. Surveillance video from the hallway outside the holding cell confirmed the jailers never checked on the young man. This was a direct violation of Minnesota law and the jail's policy, which required inmates to be personally observed at least every 30 minutes, and intoxicated inmates to be personally observed at least every 15 minutes. In addition, the jail log was falsified; the log stated that rounds of the jail had been made, when the same surveillance video showed otherwise. Three jailers were administratively reprimanded by the county for their conduct.

Jeff Montpetit represented the young man's father and sued the county, the jail's administrator and the three jailers involved. He alleged that their negligence caused the young man to take his own life. The case settled at mediation for $175,000, which was disbursed between our client, the boy's mother and his two sisters.

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