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$395,000 Settlement in Los Angeles Jail Prisoner’s Lung Infection Death

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office paid $395,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming it provided inadequate medical treatment to a prisoner, causing his death. The claim was brought by the estate of Michael Buford.

When Buford, 32, was arrested on September 7, 2005, he complained of respiratory problems. A laboratory screening test was performed on September 23. While Buford remained under continuous evaluation of jail medical staff, the positive HIV test results were never communicated to jail physicians.

It was determined that Buford had a lung infection, which was treated at the jail and a local hospital. Buford’s condition continued to deteriorate, and he died on November 25, 2005. An autopsy determined he died from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or emphysema.

Buford’s estate, mother, and son alleged in their lawsuit negligence and civil rights violations for the failure to provide adequate treatment. In May 2009, the matter was settled for $395,000. The Sheriff’s Office also established a directive that requires all future HIV positive reports to be faxed to each facility, and it created an interface between a prisoner’s electronic medical record and the contract laboratory.

Buford’s estate was represented by attorney Robert Mann. See: Estate of Michael Buford v. County of Los Angeles, USDC, C.D. California, Case No. 06-CV-7940.

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Related legal case

Estate of Michael Buford v. County of Los Angeles

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.