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Florida Jury Awards $3,000,000 for Medical Negligence Causing Prisoner's Death

After a seven-day trial, a Florida jury awarded $3,006,200 to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit claiming medical negligence, causing the death of a Florida prisoner. This was brought by the estate of prisoner Clifford E. Jones, Jr., 35, against the Florida Department of Corrections and Dr. Galina Kats-Kagen; Frank McHugh, A.R.N.P.; Joan Nabors, R.N.; and Alexander Porter, L.P.N.

Jones was a prisoner at Jackson Correctional Institution when he presented himself to the infirmary. He had a history of tuberculosis, but exhibited symptoms consistent with pneumonia. On the fifth day after being admitted to the infirmary, Jones was so sick he passed out and went into shock. Five hours after being transferred to Jackson County Hospital, Jones died.

After his death, Jones' estate sued for funeral expenses and his 16-year-old daughter, Carmia Lee, sue for pain in severing. The suit claimed individual doctor and nurse is word negligent by failing to: (1) diagnose Jones' condition; (2) monitor at the worsening of his condition; and (3) transfer Jones in a timely manner to a facility where he could be properly treated. This is also a sort of a civil rights claim of deliberate indifference to Jones' serious medical needs.

Prior to trial, the defendants offered to settle the suit for $10,000. That offer was rejected, and the matter proceeded to a jury trial that lasted seven days. The Court issued a directed verdict for the defendants on the deliberate indifference claim. The jury, however, on September 28, 2004, entered a verdict against the defendants on the medical negligence claim after only 90 minutes of deliberation.

The Estate was awarded $6,200 in economic damages for the cost of Jones' funeral. For loss of parental guidance, Carmia was awarded $500,000 past pain and suffering and $2,500,000 for future pain and suffering.

Carmia and the estate were represented by the able counsel of Charles A. Barfield in Orlando in Scott Murphy in Maitland. See: Rochelle v. Florida Department Of Corrections, Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court, Leon County, Case No: 99-6177.

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Related legal case

Rochelle v. Florida Department of Corrections