Largest Settlement in CA History for Wrongful Death Suit

Alameda County and Corizon Health, Inc., a national corporation that provides health care services to correctional facilities, have agreed to pay $8.3 million dollars to the four children of Martin Harrison, who was killed by deputies in the Santa Rita Jail in August 2010.

The lawsuit revealed that Corizon allows uncredentialed Licensed Vocational Nurses to do medical assessments at intake that only Registered Nurses are allowed to do under California law. While in custody at the jail, Mr. Harrison was suffering from severe alcohol withdrawal, and the LVN on staff decided not to provide him with life-saving alcohol withdrawal protocols. In general population with no medical treatment, Delirium Tremens caused him to have hallucinations and was consequently Tased and beaten to death.

Michael Haddad, one of the family’s attorneys and NPAP president, said, “After jail deputies beat and Tased their father to death, Martin Harrison’s children beat them in court to win the largest wrongful death settlement in a civil rights case in California history.”  Haddad also said, “It was very important for us to stop Corizon from endangering jail inmates by staffing California jails with unqualified nurses.” 

Julia Sherwin, another of the plaintiff’s attorneys and also an NPAP member, said, “This settlement is going to change the business of correctional medicine around the country.  If California inmates are entitled to have Registered Nurses -- and not unqualified LVN’s -- do the work of RN’s then so are inmates in Arizona, Florida, Alabama, New York, Michigan, and every other state where Corizon has contracts.”  Sherwin also said, “Corizon failed Martin Harrison.  His legacy is to make sure Corizon does not fail other people who suffer from serious health conditions like alcohol dependence.  Martin’s family was committed to making sure his death was not in vain, and they succeeded completely.”