Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$125,000 Settlement in New Jersey Jail Delayed MRSA Treatment Case

New Jersey’s Cumberland County Board of Freeholders voted on July 26, 2011 to pay $125,000 to settle a prisoner’s claim related to denial of medical care.

While confined at the Cumberland County Jail (CCJ) in September 2007, James E. Parker, Sr., 50, noticed a boil and tenderness on his left thigh. He suspected it was MRSA and sought treatment from CCJ’s private medical contractor, CFG Health Systems, LLC.

When Parker was finally seen on October 1, 2007, a nurse noted severe swelling and determined he needed medical attention from a physician. Despite his repeated requests, it was not until two days later that Parker was seen by a doctor. By then the abscess on his leg had worsened to cover a 10-12 inch section of his inner thigh.

The doctor prescribed medication and ordered Parker sent to an emergency room for treatment. Efforts to control the infection over the next week failed, resulting in a surgical procedure to remove a “substantial amount of tissue and muscle” from Parker’s left leg.

His recovery was slow, painful and only partial. Parker spent the next eight days in the hospital, another two months in a nursing home and received additional care at CCJ for 51 days. He still has trouble standing for more than 30 to 60 minutes, and walks with a limp.

The county’s attorney, Brenda Kavanagh, said Parker’s claim of medical neglect against the county was “patently false.” She blamed CFG. “Unfortunately, prior staff at the prison did not keep adequate records, so essentially, it’s our word against the plaintiff’s word,” she said.

When pressed, Kavanagh contradicted herself. “There may have been a three-day period where he was not given medical attention,” she admitted, but still tried to absolve the county because it had contracted with CFG to handle medical care at the jail.

Following the $125,000 settlement, Parker notified the district court that he had been “misled by his attorney and that he was told that he was settling with the County and that he would be able to go after CFG.” However, on October 27, 2011 the defendants informed the court that Parker had executed a release to complete the settlement agreement. The settlement was finalized and the case dismissed in January 2012. See: Parker v. Cumberland County Department of Corrections, U.S.D.C. (D. NJ), Case No. 1:08-cv-06242-RBK-AMD.

CFG’s medical care contract with CCJ has since expired and another company, Corizon, has had the contract since 2010.

Additional source:

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Parker v. Cumberland County Department of Corrections