$5.9M settlement OK'd for inmate who suffered brain injury behind bars

An inmate in a Los Angeles County jail will reportedly receive a $5.9 million settlement after suffering a permanent brain injury while behind bars.

Juan Isaac Garza, now 27, was jailed in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in May 2012 after being charged with attempted murder. But even though supervisors were told he'd been diagnosed with schizophrenia years earlier, he received no medication.

While behind bars, he tried to commit suicide by repeatedly falling backward and striking his head against the floor.

Eventually, when he was taken to a hospital, swelling in his brain required doctors to open his skull to relieve pressure, City News Service reported.

Garza’s father, Juan Garza, filed a negligence lawsuit on behalf of his son in 2014, claiming sheriff’s deputies failed to perform routine wellness checks every 15 minutes on an inmate who showed signs of harming himself, per department policy, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The injuries Garza suffered left him rendered to a wheelchair, and also made it difficult for him to take care of himself, said Hermez Moreno, an attorney who represented Garza.  

“It’s hard to find justice in an amount of money when your entire life has been taken from you,” Moreno, told the Los Angeles Daily News. “It’s hard to say, ‘Yay, we won,’ when everybody over here would rather he be walking, talking, running and laughing with no money than with this money and to live the rest of his life in a wheelchair.”

"It’s hard to find justice in an amount of money when your entire life has been taken from you."

- Hermez Moreno, attorney representing Juan Isaac Garza

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department blamed a lack of video cameras and an insufficient plan for deputies on how to respond to inmates who are unresponsive, the Times reported, citing a court summary.

The settlement, approved Tuesday by the county's Board of Supervisors, will be paid from the budgets of the Sheriff's Department and Department of Mental Health, the Times reported.

The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for the most judgments and settlement payouts among any department county, with $68.6 million paid out in the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to a county report the Times reported. 

Garza did not stand trial on the initial attempted murder charge, the Daily News reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.