University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Estes v. Hughes County JC-SD-0002
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-03013 ( D.S.D. )
State/Territory South Dakota
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
This lawsuit was filed in 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota by the estate of a diabetic Native American man who died as a pretrial detainee in the custody of the Hughes County Jail. The estate, represented by private counsel, brought claims for deliberate ... read more >
This lawsuit was filed in 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota by the estate of a diabetic Native American man who died as a pretrial detainee in the custody of the Hughes County Jail. The estate, represented by private counsel, brought claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, failure to provide adequate medical care, race discrimination, and violations of state law.

The lawsuit -- brought against Hughes County and various individual employees of Hughes County Jail -- alleged that when the decedent was booked into the Jail, on Thursday, July 13, 2018, his blood sugar was checked and was outside the normal range. Jail staff attempted to contact the jail's nurse, whose approval was required before they could administer the decedent's diabetes medication. The nurse said that she would evaluate his condition upon her return from vacation the following Monday. She maintained this position and did not approve administration of medication or other intervention despite repeated calls from staff over the next two days as the decedent's condition worsened. On Sunday, July 16, 2018, tests showed that his blood sugar levels had increased and his blood pressure had decreased, and he was suffering from physical symptoms including sweating, vomiting, and nausea. Responding to another call from staff, the nurse stated that the decedent would be fine until the next day, when she would be able to evaluate him. The decedent was not given medication for his diabetes or otherwise referred for evaluation or care. On Monday July 17, 2018, he was discovered unresponsive in his cell and was transferred to the local hospital, where he died the next day. Based on these allegations, his estate brought claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments, race discrimination in violation of the 14th Amendment, and state law claims including breach of contract, negligence, and negligent nursing care and treatment. The estate sought declaratory relief, damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier was assigned.

Defendants moved to dismiss the race discrimination and state law claims and, on May 21, 2021, the Court granted the motion. It found the allegations in the complaint insufficient to support the race discrimination claim. It further held that neither the decedent nor his estate were intended beneficiaries of the contract at issue and thus could not sue for its breach, and that the negligence claims failed for improper notice and because the action was filed outside of the state's medical malpractice statute of repose. 2021 WL 2043070.

The parties have reportedly reached a settlement agreement that is pending approval from the Tribal Court. The settlement includes damages as well as an agreement from the County to revise its inmate medical care policies and procedures. As of September 29, 2021, the case is ongoing and the docket does not yet reflect the reported settlement agreement.

Tessa Bialek - 09/29/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Failure to train
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
National Origin/Ethnicity
Indian
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Hughes County, South Dakota
Plaintiff Description Special administrator of the estate of a diabetic Native American man who died in the custody of the Hughes County Jail.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 07/17/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D.S.D.
07/26/2021
3:20-cv-03013-KES
JC-SD-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.S.D.
07/17/2020
Complaint With Request for Trial by Jury [ECF# 1]
JC-SD-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.S.D.
08/25/2020
Amended Complaint with Request for Trial by Jury [ECF# 5]
JC-SD-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.S.D.
05/21/2021
Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts 3-6 [ECF# 33] (2021 WL 2043070)
JC-SD-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.S.D.
07/26/2021
Second Amended Complaint & Request for Trial by Jury [ECF# 36]
JC-SD-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Schreier, Karen E Court not on record show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-0003 | JC-SD-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carpenter, Frances Crockett (New Mexico) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-0004 | JC-SD-0002-9000
Pochop, Stephanie (South Dakota) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-0001 | JC-SD-0002-0004 | JC-SD-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abraham, Douglas A (South Dakota) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-9000
Anderson, Robert B. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-9000
Duffy, Daniel P. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-9000
Hieb, Jack H. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-9000
Murphy, Matthew D (South Dakota) show/hide docs
JC-SD-0002-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -