In a case brought by NLG members Ben Hale, of the Portland Law Collective, and Steven Goldberg, the Multnomah County Circuit Court recently approved a settlement that provides $2,100,000 to the family of a man who died in prison from medical neglect. Because the decedent was in prison, he couldn’t go to the hospital, and the doctors in prison wouldn’t treat him, so he slowly died from liver failure. Benjamin Haile achieved a settlement in which the decedent’s parents, widow, and children received compensation for their loss of financial support and companionship due to the death.
The decedent was serving a relatively short prison sentence, and his employer testified that his job as a construction worker was waiting for him the day he would have been released. Aggressive development of the case by Ben and co-counsel Steven Goldberg included retaining an expert in prison healthcare to explain the medical procedures that prison doctors and nurses failed to follow, a hepatologist to explain how these errors caused the patient’s liver to fail, and an economics expert to explain the financial support he would have been able to provide his family if he had survived. The case is Cruz-Reyes v. State of Oregon, Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 1107-09220.