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Mother of California State Prisoner Receives Settlement in Wrongful Death of Son

by Christopher Zoukis

Ella Aaron, the mother of a prisoner incarcerated in California's Lancaster State Prison, agreed to a settlement with prison officials over deliberate medical indifference leading to the wrongful death of her son, Rodney Newell.

     In March 2005, while Newell was imprisoned at Lancaster, he began requesting medical attention for stomach pains. These requests were allegedly ignored and not treated properly for years. The failure to diagnose and treat helicobacter pylori allegedly resulted in the development of stomach cancer, which led to Newell's death on March 31, 2009.

     On April 12, 2010, Aaron, as Newell's heir and successor in interest, filed a complaint in federal court against Warden Brian Haws, Chief Medical Officer Finander, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the prison. In June 2010, she removed the California defendants from the suit. Aaron argued that the defendants deprived Newell of proper access to medical treatment and acted with deliberate indifference to his urgent and serious medical needs, resulting in negligence and his wrongful death.

     On December 30, 2011, a notice of settlement was filed with the court, and the case was dismissed by Judge John A. Kronstadt on May 2, 2012.

See: Aaron v. Haws, United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:10-cv-02640-JAK-JC (Dec. 30, 2011)

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