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UPDATE: Inmate Died of Legionnaires’ Disease At Stockton Prison


Apr 1, 2019

One Inmate At Stockton Prison Died Of Legionnaires’ Disease That Left Another Inmate Seriously Sick

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA (March 31, 2019) – A prison inmate has tragically died after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease and another inmate has been diagnosed with the disease. 

Stockton prison officials are still testing the water supplies at the prison in order to determine the source of the  Legionella bacteria. A number of precautions have been taken in order to prevent it from spreading. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Legionella bacteria grow in water and spread through water systems. People can contract the disease by drinking or inhaling water molecules with the bacteria.

In all 18 inmates were tested for Legionnaires’ Disease. There were 14 inmates that tested negative, one that tested positive and three results that were inconclusive. 

There is an ongoing investigation into the source of the bacteria.

What Causes Legionnaires’ Disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.” The bacteria can grow and spread in water. There are a number of symptoms once a person has been infected including:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever that may be 104 F (40 C) or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Confusion

In more severe cases a person that catches Legionnaires’ disease may die. The elderly and those that are already have compromised immune systems are at a greater risk of serious complications. Depending on the facts of any case there may be multiple sources of liability for an outbreak of the disease. 

Liability In Accidents Involving Legionnaires’ Disease

All jails have a responsibility to provide their inmates with adequate care and take measures to make sure their environment is reasonably safe. According to the California Civil Code § 1714 subsection (a), “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” Here are just a few of the more common sources of negligence for Legionnaires’ disease:

  • Failure to maintain water distribution systems safely
  • Failure to maintain hot water storage systems at the correct temperatures to prevent the spread of disease
  • Failure to properly chlorinate water supplies
  • Failure to properly flush water systems
  • Failure to maintain adequate water flow in order to prevent disease

When a jail or prison fails to take measures to keep their water system in a safe manner they may be liable in the event an inmate gets sick. The family of a victim that dies from Legionnaires’ Disease may be able to seek justice through California’s Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages in a wrongful death claim can include compensation for lost wages, medical bills, loss of love and pain and suffering. A wrongful death attorney can examine the specific facts of your case and let you know what your rights are. 

Investigating An Inmate Death

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of the inmate that died at this Stockton jail. There needs to be some accountability for what has happened. Inmates deserve a safe environment. If steps are not taken to correct what went wrong other inmates could become sick in the future. 

Has someone that you love died after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease at a California prison. You may be able to seek justice through a municipal negligence claim. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We can investigate your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what went wrong. Whether you’re looking for answers after an incident or just have questions about your rights we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us at (888) 888-9285.

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