Olmsted County Jail faces another lawsuit, this one over inmate methadone OD

Categories: Law
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Cody Laganiere, 24, died almost two years ago under disputed circumstances in the Olmsted County Jail.
Just days after agreeing to pay $900,000 to a family alleging that staff negligence allowed a 2007 inmate suicide-by-hanging to occur, the Olmsted County Jail faces another wrongful death lawsuit.

Patrick Laganiere, father of Cody Leganiere, alleges his son was negligently provided lethal doses of methadone on Sept. 24, 2010. He also alleges that jail staff failed to conduct a routine welfare check and didn't wake up his son for a morning head count.

Since June 2011, Olmsted County has doled out three sizeable awards in cases involving mistreatment of inmates. Now, Patrick Laganiere is seeking "substantially in excess" of $75,000 for his son's death.

24-year-old Cody Laganiere was locked up on June 21, 2010 for violating his probation. Details surrounding his death remain sketchy -- a week after he was found dead, jail authorities said obliquely that he was found dead in his cell, adding that no foul play was suspected. But his father believes jail staff dropped the ball repeatedly, first by dosing Cody with too much methadone and then by not keeping an eye on him to make sure he was alright.
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Not including the Laganiere lawsuit, Olmsted County will pay out more than $2 million thanks to a string of inmate mistreatment allegations dating back to last June.

Patrick Laganiere's allegations sound eerily similar to those made by the family of 36-year-old Kyle Raymond. In 2007, Raymond hung himself with a bedsheet in the Olmsted Jail's intake unit. In a lawsuit, his family alleged that  before his suicide Raymond hadn't been checked on in more than four hours, despite the fact he was visibly intoxicated and depressed while being booked. Olmsted County and Raymond's family agreed to a $900,000 settlement last month.

Furthermore, in two separate cases last summer, the county doled out more than $1.2 million to former inmates who alleged jail staff neglected their medical needs.

In the wake of the Raymond settlement, Olmsted County Sheriff David Mueller told the Rochester Post-Bulletin that the jail has "taken some significant steps to make sure this does not happen again," including streamlining deputies' duties and emphasizing adherence to the Department of Corrections' 30-minute standard for well-being checks. But he added that "even 30 minutes doesn't eliminate the possibility that things can happen in a very difficult environment."

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