Prison Inmate Awarded $12 Million for Brain Injury
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) March 22, 2013 – A prison inmate has been awarded $12 million for a brain injury.
A jury in federal court has issued a verdict awarding $12 million to a prison inmate who experienced brain damage after an epileptic seizure that occurred while he was incarcerated.
Ray Fox was serving time for a drug-related offense at the Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Illinois. Jurors found that the prison staff failed to give Fox his epilepsy medication, although they were aware that he needed it in order to prevent seizures.
“The jury has decided that this man's severe injury was the result of the negligence of the staff at the prison,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago brain injury attorney, who was not involved with the case. “With the verdict, the jury has sent a message that prison officials must treat prisoners with a reasonable and appropriate standard of care.”
Fox had an epileptic seizure in his cell in October of 2007, suffering a severe injury to his head that left him with brain damage. His attorneys claimed at trial that he suffered vision loss and is not able to walk or care for himself. Fox requires round-the-clock care, and his elderly parents must help him with everyday tasks such as bathing.
Fox presented evidence that he and other inmates had asked personnel at the prison to give him his medication for a period of three days before the seizure occurred. Fox was prescribed the drug Dilantin to prevent seizures, but his prescription had run out. According to Fox's attorneys, he suffered a number of seizures that led to an aneurysm. Medical records showed that when Fox was taken to the hospital, levels of Dilantin in his body were very low.
The trial lasted for one week and resulted in the award of $12 million. The award included compensatory damages of $11 million and punitive damages of $1 million.
Stateville Correctional Center is a maximum-security prison for men. The center houses an average of 3,500 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 staff members. Prison officials had no comment on the case.
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