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$1.75 Million Verdict in Juvenile Death Suit

On February 9, 2000, a federal jury in Macon, Georgia held that Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice employees were liable for the death of a 15 year old female juvenile prisoner who was given Tylenol to treat a serious brain injury and who later died from lack of treatment.

Latasha Edwards, 15, died on December 23, 1995, from a subdural hematoma, a brain injury. Before her death, Edwards repeatedly sought medical treatment for a head injury and was only given Tylenol. She was later found unconscious in her cell and later died in a hospital. Edwards' estate filed suit claiming Edwards' Eighth amendment right to medical care was violated. The jury agreed, holding Edwards had an immediate, obvious need for medical care that was not met. The jury awarded $350,000 in punitive damages against Althea Williams, the prison nurse who prescribed Tylenol to Edwards; $200,000 each in punitive damages against prison workers Antonio Hodges and Jacqueline Johnson. The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages jointly against all three defendants.

The medical examiner testified at the trial that the defendants' conduct caused and contributed to Edwards' death. The state said it would consider appealing. Prior to trial, the state had offered Edwards' estate $100,000 to settle the suit. The verdict is unpublished. See: Edwards v. Williams, USDC, MDGA, Case No. 5:97-CV-720-2.

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Related legal case

Edwards v. Williams