Miranda v. County of Lake, No. 17-1603 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
On October 12, Gomes, a 52-year-old Indian national, was arrested for failing to appear for jury duty. A non-citizen, Gomes, was actually ineligible for jury duty. Gomes pulled away from the officer and was charged with resisting arrest. At Lake County Jail, Gomes was placed on suicide watch. On October 14, Gomes was transferred to ICE custody. She was released within days. On December 14, after failing to appear on the resisting-arrest charge, Gomes was back in the Jail. Her physical and mental health were deteriorating. She refused to eat and drink. Medical providers did little other than monitoring. Gomes died. The administrator of Gomes’s estate filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Lake County, Jail officials, and CCS, the Jail’s contract medical provider, and its employees. The court dismissed the County defendants and granted the medical defendants FRCP 50(a) judgment on some claims. The Estate prevailed on another claim. The Seventh Circuit affirmed in part. Nothing in the record justifies a finding of personal liability against the County defendants, who received assurances that CCS staff were regularly monitoring Gomes. Medical providers stated that Gomes was stable and promised to send her to the hospital if necessary. The Estate presented no evidence that some feature in the Jail’s policy caused Gomes’s death. Rule 50(a) judgment, however, was premature. The record contains ample evidence from which a jury could infer that the doctors’ inaction diminished Gomes’s chances of survival.