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$175,000 Jury Award For Deliberate Indifference Leading to Detainee's Death

by Christopher Zoukis

A federal jury awarded the estate of a man who died in an Oklahoma jail $175,000 for violation of the deceased's constitutional rights.

Charles Holdstock, a 63-year-old attorney, was charged with child molestation in 2006. He spent three years in the Oklahoma County Jail awaiting trial. He didn't make it to trial, though. His pacemaker failed on May 15, 2009, and he died.

Holdstock's estate sued the jail in federal court, alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The estate presented evidence that a doctor had ordered a battery change for Holdstock's pacemaker, but that jail officials did nothing. The defendant argued that Holdstock's death was the result of several other conditions, not the dead pacemaker.

The District Court judge initially granted summary judgment to the defendants. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit reversed, and the case went to trial. On December 11, 2013, a jury returned a verdict for Holdstock's estate, awarding $175,000 in damages.

See: Holdstock v. Oklahoma County Jail, United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Case No. 5:09-1208 (December 11, 2013).

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Related legal case

Holdstock v. Oklahoma County Jail