The death of R & B singer Sean Levert in the Cuyahoga County jail has resulted in the largest jail death settlement in Ohio history. The $4,000,000.00 settlement was mediated by U.S. Magistrate Judge Greg White in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County, Ohio and Midwest Medical Staffing are contributing to the settlement. Cuyahoga County Commissioners will also express support for statewide legislation requiring jails to properly treat inmates who have drug prescriptions when admitted to custody. Sean Levert’s widow, Angela Lowe, has already testified in the Ohio House of Representatives in favor of “Sean’s Law “which requires reforms. The Commissioners will also include scrutiny of mental health services in their review of jail services as part of the transition to new jail management in the county later this year.
Counsel for Angela Lowe included David B. Malik of Cleveland, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch, in Cincinnati and Daryl Dennie of Cincinnati and Cleveland. Mr. Malik stated, “Sean’s death was senseless. He entered the jail on a nonviolent crime, nonsupport. He followed policy and gave the staff his prescription Xanax. The County and Midwest knew that without replacing the drug, Sean would go into withdrawal. He did just that and was placed in a restraint chair. Sean’s was an agonizing and horrifying death.” Angela Lowe says she is relieved, “No amount of money will return my husband but if this case helps prevent another inmate from dying due to withdrawal we will have done some good.” Gerhardstein agreed stating, “This case should serve as a wake up call to jails across the state to properly manage inmates at risk for withdrawal from drugs when they enter the jail.”
Relevant pleadings can be viewed here.