Inmate wins lawsuit against jail

2013-02-09T06:00:00Z Inmate wins lawsuit against jailBy DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS — dharris@elkodaily.com Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — An Elko man accused of methamphetamine possession was awarded $70,000 in a lawsuit settlement related to his treatment while in custody at the county jail.

Chace Lee Call, 39, was arrested in June at the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino where an officer allegedly found two small cellophane bags containing meth near Call’s possessions.

Many details of the settlement are confidential, Call’s attorney, Todd Moody said.

With little discussion, the Elko County Commission voted Thursday to approve the $70,000 settlement at the advice of county attorney Kristin McQueary, who said litigation would cost much more and that insurance covers all but a $25,000 deductible.

McQueary also said an “employee issue” related to the case is pending.

On Oct. 23, the 39-year-old experienced fluctuations in his blood sugar while incarcerated at the Elko County Jail, according to his attorney. He was placed in an isolation cell and later moved back to general holding and assigned a top bunk.

The jail has a policy to give inmates with medical problems bottom bunks, according to Sheriff Jim Pitts, but space was limited that night. Jail officials have previously stressed capacity concerns.

Diabetic people are prone to loss of consciousness, Moody said, which makes it vital that inmates suffering from the disease aren’t in high places — such as top bunks.

In the night, Call fell and fractured his femur. Deputies reported to Call’s cell after he fell and ordered the inmate to his feet, according to the plaintiff.

“Call, attempting to comply with the order, attempted to pull himself up to walk, but was unable to comply,” the civil complaint, filed with U.S. District Court, states.

Deputies accused Call of “playing games.” No ambulance was called, but jail staff phoned Richard Almaguer, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and left a message.

“Call continued to experience significant pain and was unable to walk or stand without assistance,” according to the complaint. Deputies accounted Call’s inability to walk or stand as a “refusal of medical treatment.”

Call crawled around the jail, from cell to cell. The pain made it difficult, “sometimes impossible, for Call to use the toilet or to walk,” the complaint states.

The following morning he saw Almaguer, who also accused the inmate of “playing games” but authorized an X-ray anyway. Four hours later, Call was examined at the hospital, diagnosed with a left femur fracture and underwent surgery.

More than 30 hours passed between the fall and treatment, the plaintiff said.

“There was no apology to my knowledge,” Moody said of the deputies after realizing Call’s leg was broken.

Call sued the county in October for damages for his pain and suffering, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical expenses and other related costs, including attorney fees.

It isn’t unheard of for inmates to fake a condition for their own benefit, according to Pitts. In fact, inmates often malinger, he said.

“They all try to play the system as best they can,” he said. “In the kitchen we have people claim to be allergic to oats or to be vegetarian just so they can get anything for free or a different meal.”

Call, arraigned Jan. 3, pleaded not guilty to possession of a controlled substance. Trial is scheduled for May.

Elko Daily Free Press reporter Caley Cook contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. marnie775
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    marnie775 - February 17, 2013 11:57 am
    Still Continued: Not all addicts are bad either they come from good and bad homes alike. These 2 girls still remain in jail with no good care to their wounds only to have those horrible watchers hurt them and watch them oooozzz on their hair and bed and floor and cry. COME ON THEY ARE NOT ANIMALS but humans just like you.. Something is wrong when the Jail Doc is mad at not following his orders. Got that in writing as well. Your all right ELKO in a whole is a HUGE joke.
  2. marnie775
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    marnie775 - February 17, 2013 11:52 am
    Continued: Both girls were cared for by Almaigure however spell he told one that she needs to be in hospital they took her 2 days later avoided the ER doc that said she needs to stay took her back for more abuse never given a rag or bandaid nor ointment to care for open wounds. Many calls by their families to be told smart remarks like what if she dies? Is anyone gonna miss them?? Seriously I am glad to help these families be documenting as the immates. ADDICTS YES. BAD NO but still HUMANS.
  3. marnie775
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    marnie775 - February 17, 2013 11:49 am
    I have NEVER done a drug of any kind in my life not even a pain medication NOTHING. I know 2 girls in that Elko jail now that have suffered from addiction at the hands of some out & some in jail at this time yes they are addicts but for from BAD people METH is a horrible drug I have done research for years. These 2 girls also are going to have great pending claims against the Jail & Pitts as well. So they better be prepared to pay up. One was in isolation with open staph puss and blood all over.
  4. Cubs Fan
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    Cubs Fan - February 15, 2013 2:49 pm
    questionauthority... Hmmm, another moniker that speaks volumes about the individual's opinion. Perhaps if you had an online name, such as obey the law, you might have some credibility. You are correct in implying that law enforcement should follow the law but so should everyone else. The fact that a criminal got a pay out because someone at the jail apparently messed up is no great victory for humanity. By the way; Sheriff Pitts isn't out the money. We the tax payers are. I hope the 70 grand goes toward rehab instead of more drugs.
  5. veritas
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    veritas - February 15, 2013 2:03 pm
    Are you his supplier? Or his customer?
  6. questionauthority
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    questionauthority - February 15, 2013 12:18 pm
    This is another classic case of what we have always been able to consistently count on. The laziness of government workers. Whether it be in law enforcement or at the post office, your tax dollars are wasted on complacent people who do not do their jobs. Good for Mr. Call. I'm glad he broke it off in Pitts. Exactly what the County of Elko deserved. This is a clear case of "oppression under the color of law" where are the criminal charges?
  7. mr nice guy
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    mr nice guy - February 14, 2013 9:25 am
    that place is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just need cool cops. and better food. and every inmate should be treated like a HUMAN because its already hard enough not being able to smoke or be around your family. in fact stop taking people to jail for dumb s**t. mostly drug addicts and alcoholics. probly like this guy. maybe try fixing the problem instead of making it worse. they institutionalize petty criminals. make them not care about going to jail anymore. in fact just tear the jail down.
  8. veritas
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    veritas - February 13, 2013 5:56 pm
    Why are you still bellyaching about this? He got $70,000 out of it and I imagine he's delighted. Move on.
  9. bcc1954
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    bcc1954 - February 13, 2013 5:01 pm
    That still doesn't give them the right not to keep him safe on their watch!
  10. C-Sprite
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    C-Sprite - February 13, 2013 3:54 pm
    This is the same guy that got shot in the leg 5 or so years ago for a drug deal gone wrong.
  11. bcc1954
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    bcc1954 - February 12, 2013 8:46 am
    DITTO!
  12. veritas
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    veritas - February 11, 2013 8:05 am
    He put himself in that position by getting arrested and put in jail. Now he can take the $70,000 to buy more drugs and sell them to your kids. He got paid off because it was cheaper, not because he deserved it.
  13. melled
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    melled - February 11, 2013 6:38 am
    Not everyone that gets arrested is bad, things happen to good people. Everyone deserves to get treated fairly thats how our justice system is supposed to work in the United States. The jail in Elko has a long history of treating everyone that gets arrested like crap, I'm just surprised that more lawsuits haven't been filed, everyone needs to remember that it wasn't just the deputies that failed Dr. Almaguer also failed, clearly he needs to go back to school and learn some empathy.
  14. bcc1954
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    bcc1954 - February 10, 2013 10:52 pm
    Really? It doesn't matter whether you are in poor health or not...the system should treat you correctly and keep you safe in their custody! People make mistakes but being mistreated by law enforcement???? I don't think so! So...if you don't get life savings meds or treatment you request or need while in jail and you die....are you saying...it's your own fault??????????
  15. veritas
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    veritas - February 10, 2013 7:00 am
    Well I'll bet he wishes he hadn't broken the law and gone to jail which, as it turned out, is not a 4 star hotel. Overcrowding in the jail is a well known fact. If you are in poor health, perhaps you should try to keep yourself out of jail by obeying the law.
  16. Cubs Fan
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    Cubs Fan - February 09, 2013 11:43 pm
    I'm guessing with a charming moniker like FKTHEPOLICE, you would probably have some firsthand knowledge about the inside of a jail.
  17. freepressreader2012
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    freepressreader2012 - February 09, 2013 5:51 pm
    Thats $25000 for HeadStart, Boys and Girls Club, The senior center. United Way of Great Basin. Traffic lightg at Echart and Lamoille hwy to save lifes. Its not a little incident. It is the icing on the cake to bring out all the incidents.
  18. freepressreader2012
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    freepressreader2012 - February 09, 2013 5:24 pm
    Dateline will be around Elko doing interviews on our local law enforcement. I asked they call it Hazzard Counrty style law enforcement special. Glad this will be out in the open finally. Lets see how the federal charges come into place against a certain Sherriff. Elko County must be aweful to attract national media attention.
  19. freepressreader2012
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    freepressreader2012 - February 09, 2013 5:16 pm
    Anyone how problems with Elko County Jail. Call TODD MOODY (702)-385-2500. This article is not even the truth. You must see the video's of this situation. It is a public jail. Ask to see them. I heard they are on Youtube. Ask Mr.Pitts the displinary action of the Sherriff's Personal incharge during this incident. They dont work at the jail anymore. Criminals have rights. Not to be treated like dogs. Law enforcement is to set the example. Not be an embarrasment to it.
  20. Kmamma
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    Kmamma - February 09, 2013 1:32 pm
    Mr. Pitts, that's right...not everyone is faking their illness. It's about time someone has brought a lawsuit against the jail. People that are arrested & brought to the jail are trreated like animals. The staff thinks they're on top of the law. None of them are very nice. Not one!! They all act the same when they are employed there for a couple of months. Rubs off!! I wonder if even one gives out information w/a smile!! All grumpy!! Elko Co jail is a big joke!!
  21. passedupnews
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    passedupnews - February 09, 2013 8:07 am
    Well this is over, but the GOOD OLE ELKO COUNTY Tax Payers can more than afford the 25,000 dollar cost for this little incident. Actually they are glad to pay it and will show it by by not complaining a peep about this whole mess.
  22. It'sme
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    It'sme - February 09, 2013 7:36 am
    Interesting, they did the same thing to a neighbor of mine who was arrested on a warrant for a traffice citating (less than $200.00 bail) who is an insulin dependant diabetic and said he needed food. They let that young man lay in a holding cell until breakfast which was more than 8 hours away. All I can say is not everyone is faking it Mr. Pitts and your staff should assume they are being truthful before believing otherwise. The SO is a joke and the jail is a bigger joke!
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