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Alaska Jail Settles Alcohol Withdrawal Death Case For $573,000

On June 12, 2006, the State of Alaska settled a federal civil rights lawsuit over the wrongful death of a prisoner in a state-run jail for $573,000.

Julia Walker is the mother of Troy Wallace, who died while a prisoner in the Ketchikan Correctional Center, a jail run by the State of Alaska.
Wallace, 31, voluntarily appeared at the jail on the afternoon of July 20, 2004, to serve a ten-day sentence for disorderly conduct. Wallace, a long-term alcohol abuser, began to show symptoms of alcohol withdrawal soon after his admission to the jail. By the second day of his incarceration, he was showing severe symptoms such as hallucinations, profuse sweating, scratching at the walls, frothing at the mouth, and delirium tremens (DT), a serious medical emergency that can often lead to death if not treated aggressively in a hospital. A jail nurse then gave him a preventative medication that was too late to help his symptoms.

A videotape of Wallace during his last hours shows him trying to stand and collapsing repeatedly. Eventually Wallace suffered severe seizures and became unconscious. He died on the floor of his cell clad only in his underwear early on the morning of July 24, 2006. No one bothered to check on him until two hours after he collapsed and died despite the video feed from his cell of a monitor bank in the guards? control room.

The settlement applies only to the State of Alaska and its employees.
The suit remains active with the jail?s contract medical provider, Ernest Meloche, Meloche is alleged to have known of Wallace?s medical condition, but failed or refused to order appropriate medical treatment.

Walker was ably represented by Seattle, Washington, attorneys Erik J. Heipt and Edwin S. Budge. See: Walker v. Henderson, U.S.D.C.-D. Alaska, Case No. A05-0176 CV (RRB).

Additional Sources: News Release: Budge & Heipt, P.L.L.C.; Associated Press; Anchorage Daily News;;

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Related legal case

Walker v. Henderson