Terry Borum died in custody due to alcoholic withdrawal symptoms. Guards did not provide medical aid.
This wrongful death lawsuit was launched against Swisher County in Amarillo, Texas and ultimately resulted in a $1.5 million verdict after a four day trial.
Terry Borum, who was mentally disabled, found himself in jail, where he began to go into alcohol withdrawal. He was experiencing auditory hallucinations, crying for help and suffered a series of convulsions. Jail staff responded by giving him sips of orange juice and honey. No other medical treatment was offered. The cause of Borum’s death was head trauma, sustained after he fell and injured his head.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleged the county failed to provide proper and adequate medical care; discriminated against him for his mental disorder; had a policy, custom and practice of not adequately staffing the jail; violated the decedent’s 14th Amendment and discriminated against him under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The defendants in this case stated they did not feel they were indifferent to Borum’s right, did not violate his constitutional rights and did not have a practice, custom or policy of understaffing the jail. They alleged Borum’s case was an isolated incident.
The Sheriff at the time of Borum’s death said during the trial that he would not have done anything different than providing the prisoner with honey and orange juice.
Winning this lawsuit does not bring Terry Borum back, but it does help his family carry on with their lives in his absence. Wrongful death lawsuits are not about revenge. They are about sending the defendants and others a strong message that such negligent actions will not be tolerated.
Borum’s family might have found it helpful to apply for a lawsuit loan from a litigation funding company. When applying for pre-settlement funding, the plaintiff only needs to provide the details of their case and the name of the attorney they have hired to represent them.
Once the case has been assessed and approved by the litigation funding company, the emergency funds are sent within 48 hours directly to the plaintiff’s bank account. Most plaintiffs deal with urgent bills first and retain funds to allow them to pay their other important bills, such as the mortgage, rent, car payments or student loans.
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