Rebuffed by a Baton Rouge federal judge, the mother of a 28-year-old man who died in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in 2014 is once again suing the sheriff, warden, city-parish and others, but this time in state court.
Angelo Moses filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Antwoin Harden in the 19th Judicial District Court on Dec. 23, two weeks after U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick adopted U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois Jr.’s recommendation and dismissed Moses’ federal claims.
The federal suit alleged that Harden’s civil rights, namely his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment, were violated by East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux; Parish Prison Warden Dennis Grimes; the city-parish; and Prison Medical Services, a division of the city-parish Emergency Medical Services.
The federal suit also claimed violations of state law, but Dick — again at the magistrate’s recommendation — declined to exercise her jurisdiction over the state claims.
Moses contends in the state court suit that Gautreaux and the other defendants were “negligent in failing to treat or obtain adequate medical treatment that would have preserved Antwoin’s life.”
Attorneys for the defendants have denied any wrongdoing in Harden’s death.
He suffered a blood clot in his lung and died July 27, 2014.
Harden was afflicted with sickle cell disease and had a permanent intravenous port inserted into his left torso in 2012 for the quick administration of fluids and pain medications should he experience a health crisis, the suit states.
The port required flushing by a medically trained person at least once a month.
The suit, which says Harden was arrested in mid-July 2014 for trespassing and booked into Parish Prison, notes he was not in a compromised medical state but that he told prison personnel he had a medical port that required flushing.
The suit also says blood clots are widely regarded in the medical field to be the main risk factor for failing to flush a medical port.
In recommending the dismissal of Moses’ federal claims, Bourgeois wrote Nov. 6 that Moses failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that the city-parish displayed “deliberate indifference” to Harden’s medical needs. “In short, Plaintiff merely alleges that Harden had (sickle cell disease), had a permanent intravenous port that required monthly flushing, and had a bilateral pulmonary embolism which caused his death within days of his arrest,” the magistrate stated.
“There is no allegation that Harden requested medical care and it was denied. There is no allegation that any complaints were ignored. There is no allegation that Harden was intentionally provided certain incorrect treatment,” he added.
Bourgeois also said Moses did not allege or establish that Gautreaux or Grimes knew of, or had any contact with Harden during his incarceration and prior to his death.
Harden was booked on a count of entering or remaining after being forbidden when a worker at the Drury Inn on Essen Lane told police Harden would not leave the hotel lobby. Harden told police he was homeless and preferred to be in jail, according to arrest records.
Moses has said that if her son ever went without his sickle cell medication for more than a week, it likely would result in severe health problems. At the time of his death, she said, he had been without the medicine for 16 days — the length of time he spent at Parish Prison following his misdemeanor arrest.