Court Rules Family of Incarcerated Woman Who Died of Asthma Attack Can Sue for Negligence
In recent news regarding the embattled Rikers Island correctional facility, a Manhattan appellate court determined that the family of Eva Luckey, a woman who died 12 years ago of an asthma attack while imprisoned in the facility may sue the facility for negligence. In this decision, the court restored the negligence claim Ms. Luckey’s family filed in 2003, which was dismissed in 2012 by a state Supreme Court Justice.
The five-judge appellate panel unanimously ruled that there are “triable issues of fact” concerning the issue of whether Rikers Island correctional officers provided Ms. Luckey with adequate medical attention after she complained of having trouble breathing. Luckey was in jail on larceny charges after failing to post bail.
There were reportedly dozens of eyewitness accounts of the incident, but many of these accounts conflicted with each other in terms of when the officers actually summoned medical help after Luckey displayed signs of a severe asthma attack. There are also conflicting reports in regards to whether there were any attempts to provide CPR to Luckey before medical personnel arrived at the scene, and whether officers followed the proper protocol for medical emergency responses.
The reinstatement of this case is just one of many legal issues involving Rikers Island of late, as the facility has also been in the news due to reports of repeated police brutality and a number of related personal injury claims.
Even those who are incarcerated have rights to humane treatment, and that includes the right to medical attention when needed. Correctional officers who deny inmates their rights, use unnecessary force or inflict violence are clearly negligent and deserve to be held accountable. To learn more about taking legal action after suffering injury from officer or police brutality or negligence in New York City, consult a lawyer.