$50M lawsuit filed in jail death case

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A $50 million lawsuit has been filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections and Corizon Health Inc., claiming they are responsible for the death of an inmate at a  Jackson prison.

Southfield-based attorney Geoffrey Fieger filed the lawsuit in a case involving John Stein, who was an  inmate at the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Stein died on Sept. 5.  

According to the lawsuit, which also names the prison warden and a "nurse or health care provider" referred to as "Jane Doe," Stein had already served his sentence and was in the process of being discharged when he began complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing.

He was taken to health services in the prison but was not provided a physician or sent to a hospital for evaluation. He was sent back to his cell, where he collapsed and died, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit's claims include that the correctional facility failed to provide inmates with appropriate medical care, failed to train and supervise individuals, failed to implement and enforce policies and had knowledge that inmates were receiving inadequate medical care. 

The lawsuit also states that "Corizon routinely engaged in customary and known practices so as to maximize profits. Such practices included inadequately staffing facilities; employing unqualified staff; failing to train and/or vet staff; delaying and/or
denying life-saving care, even in emergency situations."

Stein of Monroe was serving time for a home invasion and possessing a weapon. Fieger's office said he had already completed his sentence and was officially discharged but his release was delayed due to paperwork issues. 

The Michigan Department of Corrections could not immediately be reached for comment. The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages and "reasonable attorney's fees" in addition to the $50 million.