Robins Kaplan Secures Historic $12.2 Million Settlement in a Section 1983 Jail Deliberate Indifference Case
Leading to Inmate's Arm Amputations and Other Severe Injuries
October 4, 2023
Scott County Jail officials failed to report detained man’s injuries and allowed video evidence to be deleted.
Twin-Cities based Robins Kaplan LLP announced today a $12.2 million settlement on behalf of its client Terrance Dwayne Winborn, who suffered severe and permanent injuries, including the eventual amputation of his arms below the elbows, while he was incarcerated at Scott County Jail in Shakopee, Minnesota in 2020. The secured $12.2 million settlement is believed to be the largest settlement amount of its kind in Minnesota to date.
The case alleged that Mr. Winborn's constitutional rights were violated due to the deliberate indifference of a registered nurse at the jail. The nurse, Mr. Winborn alleged, failed in the critical role of providing constitutionally required healthcare to inmates with obvious and serious medical needs. Despite this responsibility, the nurse allegedly failed to heed the many obvious warning signs of Mr. Winborn's deteriorating condition and chose not to provide vital medical care in the critical hours while he was at the Scott County Jail, nearly allowing him to die while in the care, custody, and control of the jail.
The complaint detailed the horrific consequences of this alleged indifference, which allowed a bacterial infection to fester within Mr. Winborn's body, leading to a heart attack, purpuric lesions (skin hemorrhages), septic shock, gangrene, and ultimately, the bilateral transradial amputation, among a host of other devastating and permanent injuries.
Scott County Jail officials failed to report this matter to the Minnesota Department of Corrections within the 10-day time period required by law and allowed 39 hours of archived video evidence concerning Mr. Winborn to be deleted. Lawyers for Mr. Winborn made and argued a spoliation motion asking for one of two severe sanctions, default judgment on liability or a mandatory negative inference. The motion was argued on September 13, 2023. The case was settled before any ruling was issued.
“The failure to provide Mr. Winborn with constitutionally required care was, we maintain, inhumane and offensive on every level. To destroy the best evidence of the abhorrent conduct demonstrates the need for the asked-for sanctions and the size of this settlement,” said Katie Bennett, who represented Mr. Winborn. “While this settlement cannot undo the pain and suffering that Mr. Winborn endured, it serves as an important step toward justice and accountability and a message to correctional personnel and correctional medical providers not to engage in this kind of conduct in the future.”
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