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Parents win $7.7M in daughter’s wrongful death

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A jury has awarded $ 7.7 million to the parents of a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia who died during a scuffle with her caregivers.

The sum announced Friday after five days of deliberation was significantly larger than the $ 5 million Lauren Arcady’s parents had sought, the San Luis Obispo Tribune ( reported in Saturday’s editions.

Arcady, 33, died in 2010 during a struggle with her caregivers. Arcady had moved into her own house in Santa Maria about 150 miles north of Los Angeles after living in a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities. Two caregivers were hired to stay with her during the day.

Arcady, who was tentatively diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 13, became angry when one of the caretakers took a picture of her. She marched into her room as they followed.

During the trial, plaintiffs’ attorney James Murphy told jurors that Arcady suffocated because the caregivers improperly restrained her on a bed. Murphy said the caregivers did not have CPR training and did not try to revive Arcady.

But attorneys for the company that hired the caregivers countered that they tried to help Arcady, who had a habit of hurting herself. They contended her death was caused by medications and stress. The coroner’s office could not conclusively determine a cause of death.

The caregivers were not charged. Arcady’s parents, Kathleen Reed and Alexander Arcady, filed a wrongful death complaint against the caretakers’ employer, alleging negligence and abuse of a dependent adult.

Friday’s verdict came almost a year after a different jury awarded $ 74 million to a San Luis Obispo couple, who alleged their doctor’s botched delivery of their daughter resulted in her developing cerebral palsy.

By |April 21st, 2013|News|Comments Off on Parents win $7.7M in daughter’s wrongful death|

In Yolo wrongful-death suit, jurors must ask: What about the knife? – Sacramento Bee

As jury deliberations get under way Monday in the civil trial over the fatal shooting of Luis Gutierrez by a Yolo County sheriff’s deputy in 2009, it may all come down to “the knife” – a key piece of evidence that was the 500-pound gorilla in the courtroom.
Two deputies, including the shooter, testified that the 26-year-old Gutierrez was threatening sheriff’s Sgt. Dale Johnson with a folding pocketknife at close range, and lethal force was all that was left for them to defend themselves.
But one witness testified in Sacramento federal court that Gutierrez definitely did not have a knife. Another said she also saw no knife, but her attention was not focused on Gutierrez’s hands.
A knife like the one described by Johnson and the shooter, Deputy Hernan Oviedo, was found at the scene and collected by Woodland police.
The theory of attorneys who represent Gutierrez’s parents, Irma and Jose Gutierrez, in a civil rights and wrongful-death lawsuit against the county, Johnson, Oviedo, and a third deputy is that the knife admitted as evidence is a “throw down” – a knife that was thrown or dropped at the scene after Gutierrez was killed.
The jury’s verdict likely will swing on whether the plaintiffs’ lawyers have sown enough doubt in jurors’ minds that Gutierrez did not have the knife when the shooting occurred.
If there was no knife when Oviedo fired the fatal shot, either Gutierrez would be alive today or his death would be indefensible.
Even the defense’s police practices expert agreed.
The shooting “would be uncalled for, yes, if he did not have a knife in his hand and was not threatening any of the officers,” Massad Ayoob testified.
There is no [...]

By |October 22nd, 2012|News|Comments Off on In Yolo wrongful-death suit, jurors must ask: What about the knife? – Sacramento Bee|