Inmate Death in Cuyahoga County Ohio Jail

inmate death

Inmate Death in Ohio

A review of the local news or quick search for “cuyahoga county jail inmate death” reveals countless problems at the Cuyahoga County detention center. A short review survey shows:

But perhaps most telling was the September 2021 conviction of former Cuyahoga County Jail Director Ken Mills.

According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, “Under Mills' watch, drugs flowed freely and medical care did not. Inmates were attacked by corrections officers. With this conviction, Mills can think about his own potential time behind bars - and hope that it will run better than the hellhole he ran for Cuyahoga County.”

Mills resigned in November 2018, just days before the release of the U.S. Marshall’s report that described conditions inside the Cuyahoga County jail as “inhumane.” But according to Mills’ own attorneys, not much has changed since Mills resigned.

These inmate deaths and the systemic problems that cause them are simply unacceptable.

Proving Deliberate Indifference in Jail Death Cases

Law enforcement officials, including jailers, have a duty to protect the people under their supervision. But fighting for compensation after a loved one dies in jail is an uphill battle.

At Robenalt Law, wrongful death attorney Tom Robenalt is proud to fight for the families of people who were killed while in custody. Tom has been practicing law since 1991 and knows how to prove that the government acted with deliberate indifference to cause the earth of someone in custody. To prevail, the plaintiff must show that law enforcement officers subjectively knew of the risk of harm to someone in custody and acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate’s needs.

Robenalt Law Protects Inmates’ Rights

Inmates are almost completely dependent on prison staff for their most basic needs. Prison officials have a legal duty to protect the people under their supervision. When prison employees or officials violate the law and harm or even kill inmates, they must be held accountable.

Under 42 U.S.C. §1983, anyone who causes a person to be deprived of the rights, privileges, or immunities guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the United States can be held liable for their actions.

But protecting the rights of the imprisoned is no easy task. Lawsuits against prison officials must be filed in federal court, and the victim’s family must prove that the government employee who violated the inmate’s rights was acting “under color of law.”

When successful, the family of someone who died while in police custody is eligible for monetary compensation, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

In addition to filing a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the family of someone who died while in police custody can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for:

  • Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent
  • Loss of services of the decedent
  • Loss of society of the decedent, including loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education suffered by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent
  • Loss of prospective inheritance to the decedent's heirs at law at the time of the decedent's death
  • The mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent

In Ohio, a wrongful death action is filed by the personal representative of the estate of the person who died. This is often the spouse, parent, or an adult child of the person who died.

Time Limits for Bringing a Claim for Inmate Death

If someone you love died while in jail or police custody, you generally have two years in which to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the applicable time limit, your claim for recovery will be dismissed.

But a shorter statute of limitations may apply to other claims, and it is best to contact an attorney as quickly as possible.

Robenalt Law Fights for the Families of People Killed in Prison

Attorney Tom Robenalt has extensive experience handling claims of wrongful death and other violations of inmates’ Constitutional rights. During your free and confidential initial consultation, Tom will ask questions to learn about your situation and discuss how he can help. Then, he will help your family seek compensation for the death of your loved one at the hands of the police or other law enforcement officials.

Robenalt Law handles jail death cases in a contingency fee, which means you won’t pay us unless we recover money for you.

To learn more, contact Robenalt Law today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Categories: Wrongful Death