A man is suing Los Angeles County, alleging he suffered “irreversible and life-altering injuries” after he was dealt a “grievous blow to the head” in his Men’s Central Jail cell in 2020.
Howard Williams‘ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, excessive force, failure to protect, deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, public entity liability and failure to summon immediate medical care.
“Before plaintiff suffered the permanent, irreversible and life- altering injuries at issue in this lawsuit, he was a healthy, approximately 37- year-old man with physical sensation and without paralysis who could walk, speak, communicate with others and was not trapped in his body…,” the suit states. Williams seeks unspecified damages in the suit brought Aug. 13. An sheriff’s department representative did not respond to a request made on Saturday for comment .
Williams is in custody at County-USC Medical Center, but was housed at the Men’s Central Jail Dec. 14 when he suffered a traumatic blow to the head in his cell, causing him fall to his cell floor and lie there unresponsive, according to the suit.
“Plaintiff’s medical emergency was obvious, conspicuous and necessitated immediate medical attention,” the suit states.
Williams was either struck on the head by a jail staff member without provocation or by a fellow inmate who the staff failed to isolate from the plaintiff, the suit states. Williams was left untreated for more than three hours in violation of the state Code of Regulations, the suit states.
“During the three-plus hours plaintiff remained on the floor of his cell after suffering a debilitating blow to the head, plaintiff’s medical situation went from emergent to irreversible and life-altering,” the suit states.
Williams was having seizures when he finally received medical help and he was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a major stroke in the central part of his brain and “locked-in syndrome,” an irreversible condition in which a person is trapped inside his or her body, completely paralyzed and unable to communicate, according to the suit.
Someone with “locked-in syndrome” has desires, aims, goals, thoughts and opinions and yet is unable to achieve or express them, the suit states. Williams can move only his eyes to answer yes or no and is fed by means of a special nutrient formula via a tube inserted into his stomach, the suit states. Williams is kept on a special bed designed to decrease pressure on his body and because he is unable to move himself, he must be turned every two hours to prevent bed sores, according to the suit.
People with locked-in syndrome are “complete subjects of their environment, unable to affect it in even minimal ways” and face the reality they will remain that way for the rest of their lives,” the suit states.
Williams’ medical outlook is poor and there is little hope for even a limited recovery, according to the suit.
5 comments for "Man sues LA County over permanent injuries suffered while in jail cell"
Robert Pritchard says
I also got very hurt there but it was in 2014 and I’ve been living in fear I have permanent brain damage and skull fracture and jaw bone eye socket all that was fractured and they kept saying if I said anything they would have my family jail getting worse than me and have them all raped even my dad but they described the same thing that they found me seizing and alerted in my jail cell for a unknown amount of time and it’s been so long and I can move on I wanna get my revenge i got all the records from the same usc center right by the jail help me someone please
Tim Scott says
That case is a mess. No one is ever expected to be in a county jail that long, but when it takes eight years and three tries to get a conviction things are gonna happen. Interesting to see how the lawsuit interacts with his sentencing…I mean he sort of already got “life without possibility of parole” and the prison system is not really equipped to deal with someone in his condition.
He shouldnt of commited a crime and he wouldnt be in a cell. And he wanted protection bs
Its funny and a bit satisfying when people with foolish comments like yours end up in a slip and fall accident or some kind of head injury. Do you even know if he deserved a blow to the head? Or was it a random act of gang violence that even happens to people like you outside of jail?
Tim Scott says
As it turns out he was convicted of triple homicide and awaiting sentencing, so this probably belongs on the Alby list of “just as well.”
However, the killings were a classic “drug deal gone wrong” in which this guys drugs that he had just paid probably six figures for were stolen, almost certainly by the guys he bought them from…some of whom got shot. Now, I’m not gonna add “and rightfully so,” but these are the things that happen when you have a gigantic industry running without any of the normal processes of society available. It’s not like there was an option to call the cops and report the theft.
In any event, since the guy was not sentenced yet he was basically in the same security situation as people who have not been convicted yet and the fact that the jail staff let this happen to him means it could happen just as easily to anyone…including someone mistakenly arrested who was not guilty of anything in particular. Don’t lose track of that disturbing possibility behind the cloak of “well he was a bad guy.”