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Los Angeles County Settles Civil Detainee Wrongful Death Claim for $750,000

On August 1, 2012, the County Counsel for the County of Los Angeles, California recommended settlement of a lawsuit filed by the survivors of a civil detainee who died as a result of an accident while working on a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department work crew. The settlement amount was $750,000.

Cesar Gonzalez, a civil detainee being held at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Mira Loma Detention Facility in December 2007, was a member of a work detail operating a jackhammer when the jackhammer came into contact with an underground high-voltage electric line. Gonzalez was initially transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center, then moved to the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, where he died.

Assisted by the law firm of Moreno, Becerra & Collins, Gonzalez’s estate, heirs and successors in interest filed suit in state court in September 2008. Almost four years later the county offered to settle the suit for $750,000. County officials also stated that the Sheriff’s Department had implemented new safety-related policies and procedures, and had enhanced its employee training to prevent similar incidents in the future. At the time of the settlement, the county had already paid $191,181 in attorney fees and $26,858 in costs defending against the lawsuit. See: Gonzalez v. County of Los Angeles, Lancaster Superior Court (CA), Case No. MC 019 520.

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Related legal case

Gonzalez v. County of Los Angeles