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Los Angeles County Pays $400,000 to Settle Juvenile Jail Prisoner Wrongful Death Suit

The Los Angeles County Board of Commissioners has approved a $400,000 settlement to resolve negligence, civil rights and other claims related to the wrongful death of a juvenile offender held at the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Tremayne Cole, 14, passed away less than a month after being arrested for violating conditions of his community detention program.

Cole began having headaches and toothaches four days following his arrest, and experienced high temperatures. He was given minor medications but was not seen by a doctor.

Apparently Cole had been placed on “bed rest” status, which nursing staff and guards at Los Padrinos interpreted as meaning that he could not leave his unit to see a doctor. Cole’s condition deteriorated until he was finally transferred to a hospital. He went into a coma and died eight days later from bacterial meningitis, on March 4, 2008. He was 3’11” tall and weighed only 79 pounds.

Cole’s family sued. A risk assessment by the county revealed several lapses in the medical care that Cole received, or the lack thereof. Patient interactions, for example, were not always recorded; additionally, staff had misinterpreted “bed rest” to preclude visits with health care providers.

As a result the county agreed to a $400,000 settlement, which was finalized in August 2010. Cole’s parents were represented by Los Angeles attorney Randy McMurray with The Cochran Firm. See: Cole v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court (CA), Case No. VC 052 024.

Additional source: LA Weekly

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Related legal case

Cole v. County of Los Angeles