The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most serious crisis of our age, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, untold economic dislocation, and horrific anxiety even among people who have not caught the disease or know anyone who has. Naturally, cases of people who have died from Covid-19 have begun to touch off wrongful death lawsuits.
A case in point, according to the Hill, is that of Daniel Ruiz, a 61-year-old inmate of San Quentin State Prison who died of complications of the virus. His family has filed suit against the California prison, claiming that Ruiz’s death was caused by a mishandled prisoner transfer from the California Institution for Men at Chino.
Prisons have proven to be superspreader locations for the Covid-19 virus. Prisons are not designed for social distancing, which is a key tool to combat the pandemic’s spread. So, naturally, officials who run prisons have become concerned about how to not have their inmates come down with the disease and possibly die, like Daniel Ruiz apparently did.
Ruiz’s death was an especially egregious case. He was a low-level drug offender who was slated for early release for good behavior. Nevertheless, he was one of the 2237 inmates in the California prison system who have come down with Covid-19, likely due to the allegedly botched transfer. Ruiz was one of 40,000 high-risk inmates because he has asthma and other underlying health issues. He was transferred in May and died in July.
Ruiz’s family, including his mother and three children, have filed a civil claim in preparation for a wrongful death suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Thus far, no reports exist as to the amount and nature of the damages that will be sought. The Ruiz suit is likely to be one of just many legal actions surrounding deaths as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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