Attorneys for a 32-year-old woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after attempting suicide behind bars announced Tuesday an $8.5 million settlement with the city of Pasadena.
According to the Burbank Superior Court lawsuit filed in June 2016, Margarita Perez was in the Pasadena city jail on Feb. 22, 2015, and surveillance video showed her making preparations to take her own life but the jail staff did not notice her hanging from a second-story railing for about 25 minutes.
One of the officers on duty should have seen Perez attempting to measure her neck to the bedsheet, according to the suit, which also alleged the staff failed to respond promptly to the emergency and get her mental health treatment and aid.
"Our client was suffering and was calling out for help,'' said lead plaintiff's attorney Michael Carrillo, whose office filed a notice of settlement with Burbank Superior Court Judge John J. Kralik on April 1.
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"The jail staff tragically failed to follow the basic responsibility of watching inmates in order to protect them from self-harm.''
The loss of oxygen to the brain for 21 minutes left Perez with a permanent traumatic brain injury that left her paralyzed from the neck down, bedridden, blind and unable to communicate, according to the suit. Perez' family provides her all her daily needs, according to her attorneys.
"We're very pleased we could reach a resolution that will help our client's quality of life,'' said attorney Luis Carrillo, who also represents the plaintiff and is Michael Carrillo's father. "This settlement will provide Ms. Perez with the professional nursing care she needs and offer her family some desperately needed respite.''
Defense attorneys maintained the city was immune from liability and
that Perez exposed herself to the risk of injury.