In the largest settlement ever against Wellpath, a national for-profit correctional care company, Haddad & Sherwin LLP won a $12.75 million settlement for Katherine Johnson, the sister of Randall Johnson who died in the Shasta County Jail in 2018.  Wellpath agreed to pay $11.1 million towards the settlement, only five days before trial against them was set to start.  Shasta County and the City of Redding earlier paid the remaining $1,650,000. 

On August 14, 2018, Randall Johnson, a 56-year-old painter with a disabling work-related injury, had attempted to overdose on methamphetamine.  Randall’s friend called 911 to seek emergency medical attention for him.  Redding police officers found Randall Johnson half-naked on his driveway, incoherent, with elevated heart rate, and covered in his own feces.  Randall told the officers he was not a regular methamphetamine user, but “he had used $100 of methamphetamine, partially by injecting it into his system, partially by ingesting it anally” in an attempt to commit suicide.  Officers sent away an ambulance crew that was ready to assist Randall, deciding instead to arrest him for public intoxication and take him to the Shasta County Jail.

At the jail, Randall and the arresting officer told the intake deputy and Wellpath receiving nurse Amanda Ream, R.N., the details about Randall’s attempts to overdose on methamphetamine.  Jail videos show that Randall was babbling, screaming in pain, and vomiting.  He still had elevated vital signs.  Nurse Ream falsified Randall’s medical intake form, checking boxes for “no” in response to important medical questions she never asked.  Despite the obvious need for emergency medical attention, Nurse Ream and jail staff admitted Randall into the jail rather than allow him to go to a hospital.

Over the next 36 hours, Randall’s condition deteriorated.  With the deliberate indifference of jail staff, several Wellpath nurses, L.V.N.s, and a social worker, Randall’s attempted suicide by overdose was allowed to succeed, in slow-motion, right before their eyes.  Had any of them sent Randall Johnson to a hospital at any point before his death, he most likely would have survived.  This lawsuit was brought by Randall’s sister, Katherine Johnson.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP had the knowledge and skills to hold these government and corporate parties responsible, having handled many other tragic death cases against California jails and their for-profit medical providers like Wellpath, California Forensic Medical Group, Inc., and Corizon.  When constitutional rights are violated, our system relies on private enforcement in cases like this.  This case was based on the defendants’ violation of Randall Johnson’s due process right to adequate medical care while in government custody.

If your loved one was subjected to an illegal and wrongful death at the hands of law enforcement officers or in custody, you deserve justice. Contact Haddad and Sherwin for a free consultation on your case.


Comments are closed.