·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Verdicts & Settlements

Jackson County, MO, Settles with Family of Woman Who Died “Horrible” Death in Local Jail

— July 2, 2020

ReGina Thurman was showing the obvious signs of an impending heart attack, but medical workers gave her antacids instead of prompt medical treatment.

Jackson County in Missouri will pay $50,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a 53-year old woman who “died a horrible and preventable death” in a local detention center.

According to The Kansas City Star, Jackson County legislators approved the settlement on Monday. The agreement concludes a year-long lawsuit by the late ReGina Thurman’s adult children.

The Star notes that Jackson County Detention Center’s medical contractor, Correct Care Solutions, is also a defendant in the lawsuit. While the Star’s reportage is somewhat ambiguous, it suggests that attorneys for Correct Care Solutions declined a request focr comment.

But because the Thurman family’s lawyers have moved to dismiss the case with prejudice, it is possible that all parties—including the county and Correct Care Solutions—have reached an agreement.

However, details about what Correct Care Solutions may have contributed to the settlement, if anything, is not yet available.

The Associated Press notes that Thurman died in early 2017. She was being held in Jackson County Detention Center for violating conditions of her parole. In January, Thurman began complaining of several chest pain. But detention center staff dismissed Thurman’s concerns outright, saying she was suffering of heartburn. Medical workers gave her antacids, and wrote off the rest of her complaints as “overreacting.”

A female prisoner shackled in jail. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:OfficerBimblebury. (CCA-BY-4.0)

One medical worker even went so far as to suggest that Thurman had no valid medical complaint and was, in fact, “suffering from jail-litus.”

But less than 15 minutes later, Thurman was found alone in her cell, without a pulse and dead.

In an earlier article, the Kansas City Star found that the Thurman family’s suit is the second wrongful death lawsuit to be filed against Jackson County and Correct Care Solutions in 2017. Another complaint was lodged by the family of Richard Degraffenreid, who say their relative was “allowed” to die in jail rather than be taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Degraffenreid’s case, says the Star, was settled by Jackson County in 2018 for about $150,000. Correct Care Solutions also suffered—but, as in the Thurmans’ suit, the amount was not disclosed.

Jackson County terminated Correct Care Solutions’ contract in 2018. The company had before been providing medical care for about 1,000 inmates at the detention center, the detention center’s annex, and a local prison.

When initially prompted for comment on Thurman’s death and the ensuing lawsuit, a Correct Care Solutions spokesperson told The Associated Press and the Kansas City Star that, in general, “a lawsuit is only one person’s point of view of what actually occurred at the time.”


Children sue over mom’s ‘horrible and preventable death’ at Jackson County jail

Lawsuit: Kansas City jail staff joked amid dying woman’s cries

Suit over “horrible and preventable death” in Jackson County jail ends in settlement

Join the conversation!