A couple who sued Los Angeles County after their son died while jailed in 2017, allegedly because he was wrongfully denied medical care after being pepper-sprayed by sheriff’s deputies and shot with a stun gun, won a round in court Monday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana said six of the seven law enforcement personnel who lawyers for plaintiffs Juan Manual Correa Sr. and Maria A. Correa want to depose must submit to their questioning in connection with the death of 31-year-old Juan Correa Jr.
However, the motion was denied as to the seventh proposed deponent because he is not a deputy but instead a sergeant with the Long Beach Police Department.
The judge also fined Los Angeles County and its attorneys $4,415 to compensate the plaintiffs’ attorneys for having to bring the motion to compel the depositions. The plaintiffs’ lawyers had sought $6,215.
The Correas’ attorneys said in their court papers they tried eight times to depose the deputies.
Defense attorneys maintained they had scheduling conflicts, including a six-week trial of another case, that complicated scheduling of the depositions.
The plaintiffs were both present in court Monday. They brought the suit in January 2018, alleging wrongful death, negligence and civil rights violations in the death of their 31-year-old son, Juan Correa Jr.
Sheriff’s deputies said previously that Correa Jr. had serious mental health issues and was originally housed in the Twin Towers jail because of those problems on Sept. 26, 2017. The plaintiffs say that instead of giving their son immediate mental health treatment, he was transferred to the Men’s Central Jail.
The sheriff’s department said previously that Correa Jr. became ill after he was pepper-sprayed by deputies who were trying to break up a fight between the man and his cellmate in the Men’s Central Jail.
The suit states that Correa also was shot with a stun gun and that the deputies were negligent in housing him in the Men’s Central Jail and for not getting him medical health fast enough when he began showing signs of distress from the stun gun and the pepper spray.
In August, three of the deputies who pepper-sprayed Correa were cleared of any criminal responsibility by the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors stated in a report that the deputies used reasonable force under the circumstances and that their actions did not cause the inmate’s death.