August 2018 

Denver: Schoonveld and Stalmack Achieve Victory in Federal Court

HPS Attorneys Eric Schoonveld and Todd Stalmack received a defense verdict in the US District Court of Denver. After only receiving the case just a few months ago, Schoonveld and Stalmack successfully argued against allegations of wrongful death, negligence and deliberate indifference toward a suicidal inmate. After a day of deliberations, the jury recognized that actions of the defendant nurse were appropriate.

Plaintiff had been arrested back in 2014 and while sitting in the booking vestibule, he ingested a number of pills that had been in his jacket pocket. The arresting officer failed to remove the pills from the plaintiff, failed to monitor the plaintiff and allowed him to be unhand-cuffed in violation of jail policies. The decedent gave numerous inconsistent statements to the booking officers, nurse and deputies but did claim at one point to have taken 70 pills in front of the arresting officer. The two person suicide assessment committee (made up of the defendant nurse and a deputy) placed the decedent on close observation after confirming that vital signs were normal. Plaintiff did not exhibit any signs of a problem through the night or ask for further assistance, but was found unresponsive the next morning.

Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for $10 million.