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$3.75 Million Settlement for Orange County, California, Jail Detainee Severely Beaten by Prisoners

After suffering severe brain damage while confined at an Orange County Jail in California, Fernando Ramirez, represented by attorneys Mark W. Eisenberg of Newport Beach and Jerry N. Gans of Santa Ana, sued the County, the Sheriff’s Department, the Sheriff and various officials in federal court, alleging that jail deputies failed to protect him from attack by other prisoners. Filed in May 2007, the suit settled two years later, with Ramirez receiving $3.75 million dollars.

Ramirez, a 21-year-old undocumented Mexican immigrant, was being housed at the Orange County Central Jail after being charged with inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl. He had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of nonsexual battery, but was nonetheless classified as a sex offender by jail officials. Other detainees learned of the sexual allegations against Ramirez and severely beat him, leaving him with the intellect of a 4-year-old child.

In the suit, Ramirez contended not only that the deputies had failed to protect him, but that the jail’s classification of him as a sexual offender had directly contributed to his being attacked because other prisoners were thereby motivated and able to learn about the sexual allegations against him.

While agreeing to settle, the defendants denied that they had consciously disregarded a foreseeable risk of harm to Ramirez or that they were otherwise liable for his injuries. See: Ramirez v. County of Orange, USDC, CD CA, Case No. 8:2007-cv-00601. The complaint and settlement in this case are available on PLN’s website.

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Related legal case

Ramirez v. County of Orange