Federal Court Upholds $24 Million Punitive Damages Jury Verdict for Wrongful Jail Death

September 29, 2023:

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Spokane, Washington issued a ruling upholding a $24 million jury verdict for punitive damages against one of the nation’s largest corporate providers of correctional healthcare.

The $24 million jury verdict was obtained by lawyers at Budge & Heipt on behalf of the Estate of Cindy Lou Hill, who died in the Spokane County Jail due to lack of appropriate medical care.

After the verdict, the corporate defendant, Alabama-based NaphCare, Inc., sought to overturn the verdict or reduce the $24 million punitive award levied against it. On September 27, 2023, the judge issued a 67-page ruling denying NaphCare’s request and upholding the punitive verdict in its entirety.

In pertinent part, the judge found it “significant” that the “custom established at trial is a dereliction of the very responsibility that NaphCare voluntarily assumed for its financial benefit–to provide professional medical care to inmates like Ms. Hill . . . . The Court cannot ignore the significance of NaphCare’s voluntary assumption of the responsibility and finds that the manner in which it conducted its business at the Spokane County Jail constituted ‘particularly egregious’ conduct.”

Read the judge’s entire 67-page order by clicking here: Order Denying Naphcare’s Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law, New trial, and Remittitur


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