December 19, 2012

Multi-Million Dollar Settlement: Defendants agree to settlement terms in human rights wrongful death lawsuit

The Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility and others have agreed to, among other terms, pay millions of dollars to settle a wrongful death lawsuit involving Chinese immigration detainee Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng, who died while in federal custody in August 2008.

While being detained at Wyatt by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government and operator of the detention center allegedly failed to diagnose Ng with terminal liver cancer and a fractured spine despite his repeated pleas for medical attention. Not only did Ng allegedly fail to receive adequate medical care, but the lawsuit claimed that he was also subjected to extreme physical and mental abuse and torture while in custody. The lawsuit, Ng v. Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, et al. (D.R.I.), alleged, among other charges, excessive force and brutality, constitutionally inadequate medical care, denial of counsel and violations of anti-discrimination laws on the basis of disability.

"Mr. Ng's last 30 days at Wyatt were a living nightmare … No one should have to die like that," said Motley Rice human rights lawyer Bob McConnell in an article by The Providence Journal. McConnell, along with Motley Rice lawyer Fidelma Fitzpatrick, served as the plaintiffs' lawyers in the case at the request of the Rhode Island affiliate of The American Civil Liberties Union.

According to the article, "The defendants who would share responsibility to pay the settlement include, among others, the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, a quasi-public entity that owns Wyatt, where federal prisoners are held awaiting trial or sentencing, and whose board of directors is appointed by the mayor of Central Falls. Also, Cornell Corrections, a Texas company, and Avcorr, a Rhode Island company, both of which formerly managed the jail; the U.S. government; Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket; and the sheriff's office in Franklin County, Vt., which operates a jail where Ng was held for a time."

Read more about the human rights lawsuit involving Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng.

Read the Associated Press article about the settlement. 

Read and listen to the Rhode Island NPR coverage of the case and settlement.