Determining the types of constitutional claims that should be pursued in cases involving egregious neglect or wrongdoing to a jail inmate involves a complex analysis. The attorneys at Budge & Heipt are experienced in evaluating these cases, selecting the right constitutional claims to bring, and pursuing the necessary proof during the legal process. We have successfully sued private correctional healthcare companies for medical neglect, as well as individual jail officers for neglect and other wrongdoing, medical personnel whose deliberate indifference causes unnecessary suffering or death to inmates in need of proper care, and counties and other governmental entities who operate jails and lockup facilities.
Many attorneys who do not regularly practice in the area of civil rights litigation on behalf of the families of deceased inmates fail to appreciate the unique legal standards that accompany these constitutional claims. For example, whether a jail inmate is a “pretrial detainee” (i.e. an inmate who has been arrested but not yet convicted) or a convicted prisoner can determine whether a lawsuit should be pursued under the 8th Amendment or the 14th Amendment (an important consideration, especially in jurisdictions that analyze these claims differently). Additionally, attorneys sometimes fail to recognize that proving “deliberate indifference” by jail staff and jail medical personnel requires evidence of more than just negligence by jail staff. Moreover, civil rights lawsuits against counties and cities for the death of a jail inmate—as well as lawsuits against private companies that provide correctional healthcare under contract—often require proof of a policy, pattern, practice or custom by the municipality or private company. In short, where the facts suggest that an inmate or detainee suffered or died due to neglect or other wrongdoing, an attorney pursuing a civil rights claim should be prepared to undertake deep and wide-ranging discovery and investigation in order to gather the facts necessary to prove the case. Failing to do so can result in the dismissal of such a case before it even gets to trial.
We are experienced trial lawyers with a track record that speaks for itself. We have the skills and resources to go toe-to-toe with anyone, including jails, prisons, private correctional healthcare companies, and the government. We do everything in our power to achieve the best possible results for our clients.
Our notable results include an historic jury verdict in the amount of $26.75 million — an amount believed to be the largest jury verdict of its kind for the death of a jail inmate against a private correctional healthcare company. We have also achieved recent results of $6.75 million against a county and correctional healthcare company arising from an inmate’s death in a county jail, a $4.5 million settlement for the death of a teenager in a Washington jail, a $4.25 million settlement against a national correctional healthcare company for the death of a jail inmate, a $3.75 million settlement arising from the medical neglect of a prisoner, a $3 million settlement in a jury trial involving the death of a Washington prisoner at the hands of another prisoner, a $1.5 million settlement resulting from the death of a Washington inmate by a known-dangerous prisoner, a $1.1 million settlement for an untreated infection in jail, a $1.2 million settlement involving death from dehydration, and numerous other confidential seven-figure outcomes. Our hard work and dedication has resulted in millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements and we firmly believe our efforts help to change the system for the better.