Family Files Lawsuit Against County for Inmate Death

Less than a year after Rodolfo Ramos died while in the custody of the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections, his family is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county and his jailers, saying that a lack of medical care led to the inmate's horrific death.

As chronicled in an Aug. 2006 New Times story "117 Dead" Ramos was one of dozens of inmates who have died or fallen ill while in the custody of county jailers. Now, Ramos' family, along with his lawyers, are hoping for justice. The suit was filed in federal court last Wednesday and it details how he did not receive any of the fourteen medications prescribed by a doctor while locked up on kidnapping and battery charges. That's right - Ramos had not been convicted; he was only awaiting trial when he fell ill. But that wasn't the worst part of it. Ramos, 41, was left in a single-man cell and when jailers and nurses discovered him on March 25, 2007, he was covered in food, urine, feces and ant bites.

The suit, which was filed by Miami lawyers David Kubiliun and Lynn Overmann, says County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, the Jackson Public Health Trust (which oversees the health care for jail inmates) and Corrections Director Tim Ryan are responsible for the deaths. They "were on notice that Dade County jail facilities in general, and Metro West in particular, were overcrowded and failed to properly treat the special needs of inmates, such as inmates with medical conditions or who were suffering from mental illness, as evidenced by through numerous individual and inmate and family complaints..." -- Tamara Lush

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