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$800,000 Settlement in Suit Over Diseases Caught at Maricopa County Jail

On December 12, 2005, a former Maricopa County Jail prisoner and his mother settled for $800,000 a suit alleging unsanitary conditions at the jail caused the former prisoner to become seriously ill and suffer permanent injuries.

When he was a healthy 25-year-old, Anthony Ramos was arrested for having been present at the scene of an aggravated assault. He spent three months in the Maricopa County Towers Jail before the charges were dropped. During the three months, Ramos became seriously ill and repeatedly requested medical care, but was denied it. When his medical needs could no longer be ignored, he was transferred to the Maricopa County Hospital were it was determined that Ramos suffered from pneumonia, sepsis, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and bacterial infections. He suffered respiratory failure and went into cardiac arrest requiring doctors to induce a six-week coma and place him on a ventilator to save his life.

Sylvia Soto, Ramos's mother, did not find out about the hospitalization until jail officials called her six days after Ramos entered the hospital and told her she would have to make some "life decisions" about her son. Three months later Ramos, who was still on a ventilator, was transferred to Select Specialty Systems Hospital for rehabilitation to learn to breathe without the ventilator.

Ramos and Soto hired Phoenix, Arizona attorneys J. Tyrrell Taber and John A. Commerford to file a state tort and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights suit in state court. Maricopa County settled the suit for $800,000.

See: Ramos v. Maricopa County, Ariz. Superior Ct., Maricopa Co., No. CV2003-004559.

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Related legal case

Ramos v. Maricopa County