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Prisoner’s Death After Restraint Settled By Los Angeles County For $80,000

Prisoner's Death After Restraint Settled By Los Angeles County For $80,000

The Los Angeles County Claims Board settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $80,000 in December 2006 that resulted from a jail prisoner dying after being restrained of his assaultive behavior.

On January 10, 2005, Pitchess Detention Center (North) jail prisoner Jerry Moreno was reportedly acting violently towards other prisoners and refused to obey staff orders. He was armed with two large pieces of metal he had broken out of a cell lighting fixture. Deputies fired plastic balls, pepper spray and twice used a Taser before finally subduing and cuffing Moreno. During the struggle, he struck his head on the metal bunk, causing a laceration.

Deputies proceeded to hobble his legs, pending arrival of paramedics. Although continuing to thrash and yell, Moreno was placed on a gurney and taken to the hospital. He was positioned on his side, but turned over onto his stomach in the ambulance. Upon arrival, hospital staff found Moreno in full cardiac arrest and put him on a ventilator. He died four days later.

Moreno's daughter Skyla sued for wrongful death. The county countered that Moreno's death was due to his resistance plus the presence of drugs in his system. Estimating a potential exposure of $750,000 in costs and damages if the matter proceeded to trial, the parties settled on December 19, 2006 for $80,000. In an earlier settlement with Moreno's mother and brothers, the county settled for an additional $75,000. See: Moreno v. County of Los Angeles, U.S.D.C. (C.D. Cal.), Case No. CV 05-07941.

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Related legal case

Moreno v. County of Los Angeles