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Prisoner's Family Receives $1.6 Million for Negligent, Fatal Medical Care

Michael Thomas Anderson, a prisoner at both the Napa County, California, and Siskiyou County, California jails, who had a long history of severe medical and psychological problems, took his own life on April 9, 2009. His heirs filed suit shortly thereafter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging "failure to provide for prisoner-Decedent’s serious medical needs, failure to provide competent medical care, treatment, and suicide precautions, and failure to comply with court orders and other legal obligations concerning prisoner-Decedent’s serious medical needs,... pursuant to 42 USC §§ 1983 and 1988, the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 42 USC §§ 12131 et seq. and 12181 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”) 29 USC § 794 et seq."

Anderson, who took medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was tasered and arrested after he had begun behaving erratically, and confined as a pretrial detainee.  Found incompetent to stand trial, he was ordered remanded to state mental health facilities for treatment, but county officials denied him said treatment, as well as appropriate care to guard against his suicidal tendencies. Anderson killed himself shortly after being taken off of suicide watch by jail officials.

After unsuccessfully trying to get the case dismissed, defendants agreed in 2012 to a one million, six hundred thousand dollar settlement, ($1,600,000.00), payable to decedent's estate, of which $1,200,000 was to be paid by the County of Siskiyou, and $400,000 was to be paid by the State of California, in settlement of all claims. As part of the settlement, there was no admission of wrongdoing on the part of defendants.

Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Michael J. Haddad, Julia Sherwin, and Gina Altomare, of Haddad and Sherwin, located in Oakland, California. See: Anderson v. County of Siskiyou, et al., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10107, No. 2:11-cv-00117-GEB-CKD.

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Related legal case

Anderson v. County of Siskiyou, et al.