Huge $11.9M verdict for family of inmate who killed himself in Pa. jail

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The family of an accused Pa. pizza shop owner who took his own life by stuffing his T-shirt down his throat while lodged at the Monroe County jail has won a huge, $11.9 million award for damages from a federal jury in Scranton.

The verdict was returned earlier this month against PrimeCare Medical and several of its employees, according to the Pocono Record.

The company provided medical care at the county jail in Stroudsburg, Pa., and was blamed by the family for failing to properly evaluate victim Mumun “Marty” Barbaros for suicide risk, the newspaper writes.

The family’s Philadelphia attorney also argued that the medical provider made mistakes that kept Barbaros from receiving his antidepressants, the newspaper adds.

Meanwhile, PrimeCare’s attorneys countered that Barbaros didn’t accurately report his medications. And company’s lawyers attempted to blame the jail’s staff for not reporting Barbaros’ unusual behavior hours before he was found dead.

The verdict was first reported by the Citizens Voice newspaper.

Background from the Pocono Record:

Barbaros, a local pizza shop owner in Canadensis, Pa., stuffed his shredded T-shirt down his throat and died on March 22, 2009 while in the county jail awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges that he vandalized two competing pizza shops.

Attorneys for the medical company told the local newspapers they planned to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, the county had settled with the family for $25,000 before the trial. Records show PrimeCare rejected the family’s request for $800,000 to settle its portion of the case.

Barbaros leaves behind a wife and two children.

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