L.A. County Jail Suicide Lawsuit Settles for $1.6 Million

09-29-2015
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A $1.6 million settlement has been awarded to the family of a 23-year-old man who committed suicide in Men’s Central Jail due to a lawsuit that jail officials did not properly diagnose his mental illness. Jail mental health workers were told upon the man’s incarceration that he was hallucinating, had been hospitalized previously for psychotic behavior and had attempted suicide before. Despite these warnings, he was not placed in mental health housing, and hung himself after he was placed in a single-man cell after his cellmates complained of his bizarre behavior. Just a month prior to the settlement, a court-enforceable agreement was signed with the federal government to overhaul treatment of mentally ill inmates, following a federal report in June 2014 that found L.A. County jail suicides had sharply increased. Part of the agreement dictates that the Sheriff’s Department must reduce suicide hazards, and institute suicide prevention measures. In addition, the Board of Supervisors approved funding to build a 3,885-bed jail specifically for mental health treatment, along with a program that would divert at least 1,000 people from jail to treatment.

The man, Austin Losorelli, was the son of an LAPD lieutenant, and had been suffering from mental health issues since he was young. In 2013, he was jailed for public drunkenness and resisting arrest, and was sentenced by a judge to a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. Instead of being offered a spot at the treatment facility, he was released back to his parents, and his irrational behavior continued, prompting his family to reach out to the sheriff’s detective who had arrested him. The sheriff’s detective recommended arresting him again, yet after going through more than one intake assessment, where he informed jail psychiatrists he was on antipsychotic medications, nothing was done. After making paranoid comments about hearing voices, and complaining that he didn’t “feel right,” his cellmates alerted a jail deputy who moved him to a single man cell, where he hung himself later that day with a sheet looped around an air purifier.

If you are suffering due to the wrongful death of a loved one, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.

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