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Family of Davis County inmate who died in jail awarded over $10 million

Posted at 12:25 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 20:01:49-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A jury awarded the family of a woman who died while an inmate in the Davis County Jail over $10 million.

Heather Miller was 28 years old when she fell from the top bunk inside the jail and ruptured her spleen on Dec. 21, 2016. The lawsuit filed by Miller's family against Davis County claimed she "slowly bled to death without receiving proper medical assessment or monitoring."

The lawsuit also named jail nurse Mavin Anderson, saying she did not give the medical care that Miller needed after she lost over a liter of blood.

In a press release announcing the award, the family's lawyer said the jury found that "Anderson violated Heather's federal constitutional rights by denying and delaying medical care."

Miller had been in jail for less than two days on misdemeanor complaints of possessing drug paraphernalia and heroin when she fell out of the bunk during an evening head count, according to an article from the Salt Lake Tribune. Although Miller was immediately in severe pain and couldn’t walk, jail medical staff never attempted to treat her or check her vital signs.

After waiting nearly three hours for emergency medics to arrive, Miller was transported to the hospital where she later died.

The jury also found that Davis County violated her constitutional rights by not training the jail's nurses properly and not having nurse protocols in violation of national standards and the Davis County Jail's policy manual.