Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$450,000 Award Against CMS, County In Death of Illinois Jail Prisoner

On May 16, 2002, a jury found Correctional Medical Services (CMS) of
Illinois and Kane County liable for the death of Ethel Hare--a prisoner
with chronic liver disease, hepatitis, and HIV--and awarded her estate

While imprisoned in the Kane County Jail, Hare sought medical care from
CMS--the jail's for-profit medical provider--at least 5 times in a 32 hour
period. No help was forthcoming even though she had reportedly vomited a
brown, gritty substance. At 7 a.m. on March 22, 1997--5 hours after her
last visit to the infirmary--Hare, 33, was found comatose in her bunk. Two
days later she was dead.

Hare's estate sued CMS and the jail's medical director, Lisa Zegar, seeking
damages for wrongful death, disability, and conscious pain and suffering.
The defendants contended, among other things, that Hare's death was caused
by the natural progression of her chronic liver disease and her substance
abuse, rather than their own incompetence.

The jury awarded Hare's estate a total of $450,000--$300,000 for pecuniary
loss, $100,000 for pain and suffering, and $50,000 for disability. However,
the award was reduced to $229,500 based on a finding that Hare was 49%
comparatively negligent in her death.

Hare's experts included Ann Henrick, Ph.D. of Newport County Mayo, Ireland
(nursing); John Raba, M.D. (internal medicine), Judity Nerad, M.D. and Paul
Gekas, M.D. (medical care), all of Chicago; and Stephen Steady, M.D., of
Petaluma, California (gastroenterology).

Hare was represented by Michael W. Clancy and Susan Clancy Boles of the
Clancy Law Offices in St. Charles, Illinois. See: Chuffo v. Correctional
Medical Services of Illinois, Inc., Kane County Circuit Court, Case No.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Chuffo v. Correctional Medical Services of Illinoi