Family of Pa. jail suicide victim awarded $11.9M

Associated Press

Scranton, Pa. — A federal jury has ordered a medical provider and several employees to pay $11.9 million to the wife and family of a man who killed himself in jail.

Mumun Barbaros, 46, stuffed his shredded T-shirt down his throat and died in 2009 at the Monroe County Correctional Facility in Stroudsburg. At the time, he was a pizza shop owner being held on charges that he vandalized the shops of two competitors.

The verdict returned last week against PrimeCare Medical Inc. and several of its employees was first reported Tuesday by The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice.

“I represented a wonderful family who had a lot of questions about what happened to their husband and father,” said Brian Chacker, the Philadelphia lawyer representing the family. “I am happy that with this trial we were able to get them some answers.”

PrimeCare Medical provided inmate care at the jail in Stroudsburg. Attorneys for the company, several nurses and a doctor who were sued said they’re disappointed in the verdict and plan to appeal.

The county settled claims against its employees for $25,000 before trial, jail attorney Gerard Geiger said.

The lawsuit claimed the medical staff failed to properly evaluate Barbaros’ risk for suicide and made mistakes that kept Barbaros from receiving antidepressants.

PrimeCare’s attorneys had argued that Barbaros didn’t accurately report his medications and tried to blame the jail’s staff for not reporting Barbaros’ unusual behavior hours before he was found dead.

Court records show Barbaros’ wife, Miryem, had sought $800,000 to settle the case before trial. That demand, which was rejected by the defendants, was spelled out in a pretrial memorandum filed by Chacker.