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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Strikes Richmond Jail

In an alleged two lawsuits, jail workers and a doctor are claimed to be responsible for the death of a mentally ill U.S. military veteran at a Richmond, Virginia jail.

The wrongful-death lawsuits allege Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. and several of the jail’s medical staff, as well as Dr. Gregory J. Pleasants, a doctor who was responsible for providing medical care at the jail, withheld appropriate treatment and failed to intervene when Anthony Ousley refused to eat in his cell.

Ousley , 41, died Sept. 10, 2010, at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, where he had been brought in terminal condition from the Richmond Jail, court documents indicate.

Ousley had been living in Memphis, where he was being treated for depression and anxiety at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital. He was jailed in Richmond on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice charges in August 2010.

He had been at the jail for two weeks, and had not eaten for three days, when he was transferred to VCU. The lawsuits indicate he spent long periods of time at the jail lying on his cell floor naked, and with no mattress or running water, in his cell.

He was treated for acute kidney failure at VCU, where his right leg was amputated and he became comatose.

Each lawsuit seeks $10.4 million and are the latest in a series of civil actions alleging improper medical care or inhumane conditions at the Richmond Jail, which has been reported to be chronically overcrowded and has had more than 80 people die while in custody since 1994.

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