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$210,385.00 Settlement in Pierce County, Washington Prisoner’s Death

Washington State’s Pierce County paid $210,385.00 to settle a wrongful death suit in a prisoner’s death.

Edward J. Devereux was booked into the Pierce County Jail on June 13, 2003. He was seen by Dr. V. G. Halarnaker on June 23, 2003 and diagnosed with mood disorder. Halarnaker prescribed Depakote, which requires a liver function study before being prescribed and a blood test within 10 days of being prescribed.

Devereux received a blood test on July 3, 2003; the Lab showed out-of-range values. Devereux was seen by Halarnaker on July 22, 2003 because he was still having mood problems. Halarnaker did not read the lab results until Devereux saw him, rather than within the 10 days required by care standards. Upon Devereux’s request, Halarnaker doubled his daily dose despite the out-of-range values.

On July 27, 2003, Devereux was transferred to Tacoma General Hospital for abdominal bloating, nausea and development of jaundice. He died of fulminant hepatitis at the University of Washington Medical Center on August 6, 2003.

Devereux’s estate, on behalf of his surviving daughter, filed the lawsuit claiming negligence and malpractice causing the death. Pierce County settled the suit on June 5, 2007. The estate was represented by Tacoma Attorney Monte E. Hester.

See: Devereux v. Pierce County, Pierce County Washington Superior Court case No. 052111203.

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Related legal case

Devereux v. Pierce County