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$100,000 Awarded in Arizona Medical Indifference Case

In January 2000, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict awarding $100,000 to a former Arizona prisoner who was refused medical treatment while at the Maricopa County Jail.

In late 1994, Daniel Hawkins was arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail after police caught him breaking into his own home. Hawkins suffered a wrist injury during the break-in attempt, which included damage to the ulnar nerve. Once at the jail, he requested medical attention. Hawkins saw a doctor, who recommended surgery. But defendant Gale Steinhauser, the jail's medical director, rejected the doctor's recommendation due to financial considerations. Consequently, Hawkins received no treatment for his wrist.

Hawkins filed suit against Steinhauser and Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Attorney Mark F. Brinton initially represented Hawkins but later withdrew after determining that the case was not winnable. Hawkins went to trial pro se .

At trial, the jury learned that Hawkins was a musician and that his wrist injury prevented him from playing music. The jury returned a verdict of $100,000, which included $10,000 for pain and suffering, $65,000 for future medical expenses and $25,000 in punitive damages. Those familiar with the trial say the fact that Hawkins was a musician likely contributed to the large award.

Following the verdict, Steinhauser appealed and Brinton took over the case on appeal. In upholding the verdict the Ninth Circuit wrote that "Hawkins presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to find that Steinhauser was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs."

According to Brinton, the parties reached a settlement in the case in August 2000 but would not disclose the terms. His fee, though, will come out of the jury award.

See: Hawkins v. Steinhauser, et al , 210 F.3d 383, 2000 WL 60235 (9th Cir. 2000); U.S. District Court (Arizona) Case No. 95CV83.

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Related legal case

Hawkins v. Steinhauser, et al

DANIEL A. HAWKINS, a single man, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GALE STEINHAUSER, Defendant-Appellant, and JOSEPH ARPAIO, Sheriff of Maricopa County; ARCHIE KINNEY, both in his official and individual capacity as Physician's Assistant at Maricopa County Towers Jail; JANE DOE KINNEY, wife; CONCHITA TEE; JOHN DOE TEE; JOHN DOE STEINHAUSER; D.A. WEBB; TERRANCE WEBB, Defendants.

No. 99-15622


210 F.3d 383; 2000 U.S. App.

January 18, 2000 n2, Submitted

n2 The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). Accordingly, appellant's request for oral argument is denied.

January 21, 2000, Filed


PRIOR HISTORY: Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. CV-95-00083-SMM. Stephen M. McNamee, District Judge, Presiding.

Reported in Full-Text Format at: 2000 U.S. App.