The estate of a man who died while incarcerated at a federal detention center in central Pennsylvania has secured a $750,000 settlement in their lawsuit against the U.S. government, lawyers for the family of the deceased man announced late last week.
The Scranton, Pa. law firm of Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., announced the wrongful death and survival action settlement Oct. 20.
Veta B. Faison had filed the wrongful death claim in March 2010 at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on behalf of her late husband, Louis Thomas Faison, Jr., 63, who died in early April 2008, about a half-year after being sent to the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa. on Sept. 5, 2007.
According to the plaintiff’s law firm, Louis Faison had entered the prison in good health, only to be sent to the prison infirmary on April 1, 2008, with complaints of a cough, aches and generalized pain.
Twenty-four hours later, the inmate’s condition had significantly worsened, and he was diagnosed with acute bronchitis, after which he was prescribed an antibiotic and returned to his cell.
Less than two hours later, Faison was found unresponsive, the law firm stated in its announcement. He died on April 2.
“Based upon expert opinion, his family contended that the prison healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care regarding the treatment of acute respiratory infections,” the plaintiff’s lawyers stated in their announcement. “The failure to perform a comprehensive lung evaluation and to provide emergent care to Faison … directly led to his death.”
Attorney Peter Paul Olszewski, who, along with personal injury lawyer Melissa A. Scartelli, represented Faison’s widow, said in a statement that the firm was pleased with the outcome of the case.
“While a verdict or settlement cannot bring back a loved one, we are proud to have helped Mr. Faison’s family pursue justice in this matter,” Olszewski said in the statement. “When an injury or death occurs, it is our job to make sure our clients are represented fairly and compensated fully.”
According to the complaint, Louis Faison, who was employed for 36 years as a teacher with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools before he retired in 2004, was indicted by the federal government in December 2006 and charged with tax evasion. He pleaded guilty in February 2007 and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
Faison reported to the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa. in September 2007.
“Up until the time of the incident in question, Mr. Faison’s incarceration was generally uneventful,” the lawsuit stated.
At the time he was taken to the prison infirmary on April 1, 2008, Faison was examined by a physician’s assistant, but not an actual physician, the suit stated.
Faison’s condition worsened significantly the following day. Despite the worsening symptoms, however, no neurologic examination or chest radiograph was done on the inmate, the lawsuit alleged.
Faison was discovered in his bed by another inmate later that morning unresponsive. He was then transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:27 a.m. April 2.
The cause of death according to the autopsy was acute and organizing bronchopneumonia with a contributory cause of death listed as hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the lawsuit stated.
The complaint had accused the defendant of failing to detect that Faison was suffering from pneumonia, failing to conduct a careful and comprehensive examination of the deceased, and failing to perform other testing that could have divulged his ailments.
The lawsuit contained wrongful death and survival action counts.