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Los Angeles County Agrees to Settle Estate’s Lawsuit for $395,000

In May 2009, the Los Angeles county Claims Board recommended that the County pay $395,000 to settle a lawsuit arising from the death of an HIV-positive man who complained of respiratory problems while in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department.

In September 2005, while in the custody of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, 32-year-old Michael Buford complained of respiratory problems. Medical personnel ordered laboratory screening tests. The tests, conducted by an outside laboratory, were positive for HIV, but the results were not communicated to Sheriff’s Department medical staff.

Buford was sent to an outside hospital for treatment; he died there of emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). His estate filed suit in federal court, alleging negligence and civil rights violations.

As a result of this case, effective February 2009, County medical providers will be able to review all laboratory results electronically. See: Estate of Michael Buford v. County of Los Angeles, U.S. District Court, Case No. CV 06-7940.

Additional source: Los Angeles County Claims Board Recommendation, May 7, 2009. 

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Related legal case

Estate of Michael Buford v. County of Los Angeles