Family Files $10 Million Lawsuit Against Sacramento County Jail and Sheriff After Inmate’s Death from Denied Medical Treatment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The family of a man who passed away while in custody at the Sacramento County jail has filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $10 million in damages. The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of the Eastern District of California, alleges that Norman Fisher Jr., 47, died due to the denial of necessary medical treatment by jail staff over a 10-day period.

Fisher, a pretrial detainee, fell ill in May and passed away on May 27. The lawsuit claims that his condition was wrongly dismissed as a flu when he actually had sepsis, which could have been detected with a blood test. According to court documents, Fisher first informed his cellmate on May 17 that he was unwell and could barely sit up in bed. Over the following days, he experienced vomiting and was unable to eat or drink.

Despite his deteriorating condition, Fisher and his cellmate were reprimanded by jail staff when they used the emergency intercom button to request immediate attention. The lawsuit alleges that Fisher’s illness was deemed insufficiently serious by the staff. Although the cellmate sought help from an inmate trustee, no response was provided.

It was only on May 20 that Fisher was finally brought to the jail’s medical department for a sick call with a physician. However, he was sent back to his cell with instructions to rest and let the illness “run its course.” Fisher’s condition worsened, with symptoms including bloated and pale lips. His repeated requests for medical attention through the emergency intercom went unheeded.

A registered nurse allegedly reviewed Fisher’s medical chart but did not take any action. A medical assistant falsely documented that Fisher had refused a blood pressure check, despite his inability to leave his cell due to his illness. Fisher’s condition continued to deteriorate, and on May 22, he was taken to the medical department for observation. The following day, a doctor noted further decline in Fisher’s condition and transferred him to an emergency department. He was eventually put on life support at Sutter Medical Center but passed away on May 27.

The cause of Fisher’s death, according to the lawsuit, was septic shock, Klebsiella bacteremia, pneumonia, and non-traumatic acute kidney failure. The lawsuit accuses the jail staff of deliberate indifference, failure to provide medical care, civil rights violations, emotional distress, negligence, and wrongful death. Both the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and Sacramento County declined to comment on the pending litigation.

In summary, the family of Norman Fisher Jr. has filed a federal lawsuit against Sacramento County, the jail medical system, and Sheriff Jim Cooper, alleging that Fisher was denied necessary medical treatment during his time in custody. The lawsuit seeks damages of over $10 million. Fisher’s condition, initially dismissed as a flu, eventually proved to be sepsis, and despite repeated requests for help, his pleas were allegedly ignored. Fisher’s death was attributed to septic shock and other complications. Both the sheriff’s office and the county have declined to comment on the lawsuit.