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Jennetten and Cullom obtain defense verdict for jail medical provider

Quinn Johnston Attorneys Peter Jennetten and Christina Cullom won a unanimous defense verdict in favor of a jail medical provider, Advanced Correctional Healthcare.  The Plaintiff, Aaron Piercy, was represented by Loevy and Loevy and sued individually and on behalf of the estate of his late father, Dale Piercy.

Plaintiff’s father, Dale Piercy, spent nine days at the Whiteside County Jail followed by sixteen days at the Illinois Department of Corrections, where he died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Plaintiff’s counsel claimed that Dale Piercy was vomiting blood at the jail and that the jail’s medical staff was aware of his vomiting, but failed to provide appropriate care. Plaintiff’s claims included claims for malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, and civil rights violations against the individual defendants and civil rights claims based upon an alleged failure to train medical and correctional staff and a custom of poor medical care against the company. However, only the civil rights claim against the company was submitted to the jury. The court bifurcated and did not reach a punitive damages claim.

The defense focused on the timing of the gastrointestinal bleed. While two inmates testified that Piercy was vomiting blood at the jail, another inmate and the jail staff disputed this assertion. Piercy received an intake screening at the Department of Corrections, and staff testified that he made no complaints and did not appear to be ill. Cellmates testified that he became ill days after entering the prison. Plaintiff and their expert contended that Piercy suffered from a bleeding ulcer which was treatable while he was at the jail. Defendant contended that Plaintiff’s gastrointestinal bleed came from a Dieulafoy lesion, which caused rapid blood loss later in his time at the prison. It was undisputed that Piercy received no medical care at the prison after his intake screening.

Plaintiff asked the jury for $12 million plus an unspecified amount for emotional distress. However, the jury concluded that Piercy was not vomiting blood at the jail, which compelled a verdict in favor of the defense.