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$1.5 Million Awarded in CDC Medical Neglect Suit

$1.5 Million Awarded In CDC Medical Neglect Suit

In November 2000, a jury awarded the Estate of Mark Holton and Amanda Holton a total of $1.5 million in costs and damages, as well as $279,000 in attorneys' fees, in a civil rights action. Amanda Holton filed the suit in the Federal District Court in Sacramento, California, after her son, Mark, died as a result of taking medication prescribed for him by a prison doctor.

On June 15, 1998, Mark Holton was a prisoner in acute care at the California Medical Facility (CMF) near Vacaville, California. He was assigned to the acute care unit after he was found hanging in his cell a few days earlier.

That morning a doctor identified only as John Doe prescribed for Holton an antipsychotic medication called Haldol, to which Holton had an adverse reaction. By that afternoon he had a fever of 108 degrees. By the next morning he was having respiratory failure. Holton was then transferred on June16 to an outside hospital where he died of cardiac arrest on the 17th.

Holton's estate and his mother then filed suit through their attorneys Richard Seltzer and Christopher Cody. The lawsuit sought compensation for Doe's violation of Holton's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Doe violated Holton's rights by being deliberately indifferent to his medical condition, i.e., failure to monitor Holton's fever and failure to transfer him to an intensive care facility on the 15th.

After trial, the jury awarded $250,000 to Holton's estate, $1.25 million to Amanda Holton, and $279,000 in attorneys' fees. See: Estate of Mark Holton and Amanda v. John Doe, M.D. , USDC EDCA Case No. CIR899889LHK/PAN (2000).

Ironically, the Plaintiffs were willing to settle the case before trial for $250,000, but Doe and his attorneys refused and counter-offered $150,000. After the jury awarded Plaintiffs $1.5 million, Doe appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Related legal case

Estate of Mark Holton and Amanda v. John Doe, MD