Health and Safety

Filed - December 10, 2019

Crowson v. Washington County, Utah, et al

Martin Crowson suffered from metabolic encephalopathy while in Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on an alleged parole violation.

Instead of conducting diagnostic tests and treating him appropriately, the jail’s medical personnel simply assumed he was detoxing and treated him for substance withdrawal.

This worsened his condition and delayed access to the care he actually required.

Mr. Crowson filed an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against the nurse and doctor who failed to treat him appropriately, alleging that they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. He also brought suit against the County, alleging that the County did not adequately train its staff and that it ignored the obvious risk of serious harm created by its policies and practices.

The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, but the district court denied them. It determined that there was sufficient evidence to find both the nurse and doctor deliberately indifferent to Mr. Crowson’s medical care. It also found the jail’s healthcare policies “severely lacking” and reasoned that Mr. Crowson’s “maltreatment can be seen as an obvious consequence” of the County’s failures. The defendants appealed this decision.

We are representing Mr. Crowson on appeal along with the Schriever Law Firm. Oral argument has been scheduled for September 21, 2020 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.