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Washington: Jail Suicide Results In $150,000 Award

On July 8, 2002, a jury in King County, Washington awarded $150,000 to the
estate and daughter of a prisoner who committed suicide while imprisoned in
the Auburn City Jail.

Sandra Farms, 39, was arrested by Auburn City Police on January 6, 1998,
for outstanding warrants and taken to the city jail where she committed
suicide. Plaintiffs, Farms' estate and her 21-year-old daughter, sued the
city and three police officers for violating Farm's civil rights and for
negligence. Farms' daughter also claimed loss of parent-child relationship.
Plaintiffs claimed that Farm made suicide threats both while being arrested
and during transport to the jail, and that Farms told officers at the jail
that she had attempted suicide in the past. However, Farms was not placed
on suicide watch or taken to the hospital; instead, Harms was placed in an
isolated cell where she hung herself with a bed sheet. Plaintiffs also
noted that Harms' suicide at the jail was the fourth in five years.
Plaintiffs provided expert testimony from Theodore L. Dorpat, M.D., of
Seattle (psychiatrist/suicide) and Donald Reay, M.D., of Bryan, Texas (jail

After a three-week trial, plaintiffs were awarded general damages of
$150,000. Plaintiffs were represented by Franklin Shoichet of Seattle and
Andrea Darvas of the Burien, Washington, law firm Feller & Davis. See:
Frank v. City Of Auburn, King County Superior Court, Case No. 01-2-00638-0KNT.

Source: Northwest Personal Injury Litigation Reports

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Related legal case

Frank v. City Of Auburn

no case text.