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Wackenhut Settles Suit Over Premature Birth for $98,000

On August 12, 2004, Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, now known as GEO Group, Inc., settled a suit alleging that inadequate medical care at a 640-bed Wackenhut-run jail caused a prisoner to give birth prematurely.

Melissa Villarreal, 32, a former prisoner at the Wackenhut-run jail in downtown San Antonio, was arrested for drunken driving and incarcerated at the jail in 2001. She alleged that inadequate medical care at the jail caused her to give birth to her son, Logan Daniel Flores, prematurely. The boy was born on November 7, 2001, at University Hospital, weighing 1 pound, 6 ounces. He continues to have medical complications due to the premature birth. Villarreal also alleged that she was not allowed to see the boy or provide milk for him.
Wackenhut agreed to pay Villarreal $94,369, to settle medical claims for the boy (whose treatment was largely paid by Medicare) for $750 and to pay $3,500 to a court-appointed attorney who represented the interests of the baby.

Ironically, the settlement announcement came after U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy, unaware of the settlement agreement, recommended granting Wackenhut summary judgment, noting that the company had documented that it gave Villarreal adequate medical care.

“This was plan B just in case the summary judgments did get granted against us, and that is exactly what happened,” said Villarrea’s attorney Frank Menchaca of San Antonio. As a part of the settlement, Wackenhut denied any wrongdoing. See: Villarreal v. Wackenhut Corrections Corp., U.S.D.C. W.D. Tex.-San Antonio Div., Civil Action Case No. 5:02-cv-625.

Additional Sources: San Antonio Express-News

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Related legal case

Villarreal v. Wackenhut Corrections Corp.

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