Another Wrongful-Death Lawsuit For The Harris County Jail

There may be a new sheriff in town, but the jail lawsuits keep coming.

Relatives of a 44-year-old woman who died in custody in January 2008 sued the county today, saying jail employees ignored her severe leg pain for three days and taunted her until she died.

Margarita Saavedra, a grandmother, was in jail waiting trial on drug charges when she died. The attorney representing her relatives, Randall Sorrels, says the jail at that time was consistently failing to deliver proper medical care.

"Those with serious medical conditions were ignored and some were literally assessed the death penalty for crimes they had never been convicted of because of the lack of adequate medical care," he said.

Christina Garza, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department, tells Hair Balls they have not seen a copy of the lawsuit and can't comment.

Current Sheriff Adrian Garcia wasn't in office at the time of the death, and the jail recently passed a surprise state inspection.

"While the jail is being improved, no one has made an effort to address the loss to this family and other families who were involved in the string of deaths at this facility," Sorrels said.

He paints a grim picture of Saavedra's final days, her knees and legs swollen, unable to eat because of pain. At one point a nurse told a jailer, he claims, "The inmate only wanted pain medication and that she could get up if she wanted to."

A few hours later she was dead.

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