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$250,000 Settlement After Federal Prisoner Dies From Undiagnosed Heart Attack

Georgia State resident Janie Federick, administrator of deceased federal prisoner Ronnie Ruff's estate, and Ruff's family, brought a federal tort action against the United States in 2002. Federick alleged that a lack of standard medical care proximately resulted in Ruff's 2000 death. The suit settled for $250,000.

Ruff was incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Atlanta in 2002 when he complained of chest pain, shortness of breath, acute sweating, slow heartbeat and vomiting. USP Atlanta medical personnel failed to recognize the "clear import" and classic symptoms as coronary trouble and declined follow up care or order an electrocardiogram. Ruff subsequently suffered a heart attack in his cell and died. Federick and his family brought the suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act for deliberate indifference to Ruff's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and for wrongful death.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia approved the $250,000 settlement in 2002. See: Federick v. United States, USDC, N.D. Ga., Case No. 1:02 cv 406 u (Dec. 2, 2002).

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Related legal case

Federick v. United States

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