Southern California's Orange County has agreed to pay $480,000 to an inmate who was pregnant but suffered a miscarriage after sheriff's deputies stopped at a Starbucks while driving her to a hospital. Sandra Quinones, who is no longer in custody, alleged in a federal lawsuit that sheriff's staff delayed treatment after her water broke in the jail.
County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the payment, but Quinones must formally accept the settlement before it becomes final, the Orange County Register reported.
"That's a very good result for someone badly treated in the jail," her lawyer, Dick Herman, told the Register. "This poor woman, she's in jail having a miscarriage and, instead of calling an ambulance, they take her to the hospital in a patrol car and the cops stop at Starbucks while she's bleeding."
Herman said Quinones is homeless and mentally ill.
"The Orange County jail is capable of sinking to the lowest depths," Herman told the Los Angeles Times. "Unfortunately this is not the only occasion."
The lawsuit said no jail staff responded for two hours after Quinones pushed a call button in her cell when her water broke on March 28, 2016.
Then instead of being put in an ambulance, Quinones was given a ride to a hospital in a patrol car, but not until deputies stopped for coffee, the lawsuit alleged.
Quinones was hospitalized, but the fetus did not survive, according to court filings.
Sheriff's officials declined to comment on the settlement.
The lawsuit accused deputies of acting with "deliberate indifference" toward Quinones' civil rights and her medical condition, the Register said.
The lawsuit was initially dismissed by a federal court in 2020 but reinstated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2021, the Times reported.
"She doggedly pursued this case, including all of its ups and downs," Herman told the newspaper. "This was a long, hard fight. We're glad that this reached a successful conclusion."
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