A federal jury yesterday ordered Dallas County to pay $900,000 to a former jail inmate for denying him proper medical care while he was in custody, reports the Dallas Morning News. Don Tittle, attorney for plaintiff Stanley Shepherd, said it was the largest jury verdict over a jail-neglect suit against Dallas County. Tittle called the verdict an indictment of the county’s entire jail-health system. In legal terms, that means the jail’s “general conditions of confinement” led to the damage suffered.
Shepherd, 51, entered the jail in October 2003 on a burglary and drug charge and suffered the stroke in January 2004. In the seven weeks before his stroke, he received little or no treatment or medication despite high blood- pressure readings, Tittle said. Shepherd uses a wheelchair and is paralyzed on his left side, Mr. Tittle said. Last year, Dallas County agreed to pay $950,000 to families of three mentally ill former inmates, one of whom died, to settle a lawsuit over jail medical care. Several scathing reports have criticized medical care in Dallas County jails, which haven’t met state standards since 2003.