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$125,000 Settlement In BOP Guard Induced Prisoner's Death

Parents of deceased ex Kentucky federal prisoner, Marcus Dascenzo, brought a federal tort action against the United States in 2002 after a guard's failure to treat their son resulted in his death. After the Department of Justice's initial refusal to pay after a settlement agreement was reached, the suit ultimately settled for $125,000.

Dascenzo was housed at PCI Manchester serving a 30 year sentence. He was routinely treated for seizures, but was otherwise healthy. He maintained his innocence and a petition to overturn his conviction was pending. In 2000, Dascenzo began having a seizure in his cell. His cell mate flagged down a guard, S. Watterson, who provided no assistance and would not even enter the cell. Watterson instead summoned Lt. J. Pell who determined that Dascenzo was in need of emergency medical attention. However, neither guard performed procedurally mandated resuscitation services. An ambulance was finally called a half an hour after the convulsing seizure began, but Dascenzo died due to the lack of action on the part of the guards. Dascenzo’s parents brought the action under the Federal Tort Claims Act after an Institutional Mortality Review Committee determined that negligence and policy violations occurred, also stating that an "acknowledged weakness" in not performing resuscitative services added to the tragedy.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky approved the settlement in 2004. The parents agreed to the settlement to obtain closure, although they protested that the agreement "significantly undervalued" the claim. The U.S. Department of Justice subsequently refused to pay the amount by attempting to renegotiate, but paid after a court order to enforce the agreement was obtained in 2005. See: Dascenzo v. United States, USDC, E.D. Ky., Case No. 6:05 198 DCR (June 17, 2005).

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Related legal case

Dascenzo v. United States

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