Investigation into Juvenile Detention Center Death Continues

Six employees of the juvenile detention facility where an 18-year-old boy named Eric Perez mysteriously died last July were fired this week. The firings occurred in spite of an ongoing investigation into Perez’s death where officials have yet to release a cause. Our Palm Beach injury lawyer was saddened to learn that, according to an article published by the Palm Beach Post, Perez died on July 10, 2011 at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Center at approximately 8 o’clock in the morning.

Although the exact details have not all been determined at this time, a time line of the events leading up to Perez’s passing has emerged. July 9 was Perez’s 18th birthday, and some of the guards apparently “horsed around” with him that night before performing his nightly search and returning him to his room. Around 1:30 in the morning on July 10, Perez was observed by guards in his room, and he appeared to be suffering from some kind of hallucination. Not long after, Perez vomited, but he was given a soda and returned to his room for the night. The following morning, he was discovered unconscious in his room. Paramedics were summoned, but by that time, it was too late for them to help him. Eric Perez was pronounced dead at 8:10 on the morning of July 10.

handcuffs.jpgAn already-devastating situation for Perez’s family has become even more difficult because of the lack of answers. However, the firing of these guards does indicate a general feeling that whatever the conclusions of the final report, they did not act with the required standard of care. As with virtually all state employees, the guards will have the right to appeal the decision and to be heard in their own defense. Each guard’s likelihood of success depends upon his personal level of involvement and what he did – or failed to do – on the night that Eric Perez died.

Under Florida negligence law, people are generally not required to assist others who are in need of medical attention. However, when the person in need is in the care of the state, like Eric Perez was, a duty arises and guards are required to assist prisoners. The main reason for this rule is that prisoners are totally reliant on guards to do everything from calling an ambulance to allowing a doctor access to a patient. The nearly absolute power and control that guards exercise over prisoners therefore carries with it an enormous responsibly.

Our Palm Beach wrongful death attorney knows how important it is for families of people who are subject to the care of the state to feel that their loved ones are safe, whether they be inmates at a Florida detention center, residents of a Florida assisted living facility, or a ward of the state. No matter the situation, the state has a moral and a legal obligation to provide proper care to those who must rely on it. If your loved one has suffered an injury at a state facility due to neglect or abuse or passed away while in the care of state employees, he or she may have a right to receive compensation from the state. Additionally, if there is ongoing abuse or neglect, our Palm Beach personal injury lawyer may be able to help stop your loved one and others from continuing to be victimized. Too often, violence and neglect continue because victims are too afraid to speak out against their abusers. Our Palm Beach injury attorney will keep your case confidential and explain your options fully so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed. Give our office a call today to schedule your confidential consultation today.

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