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Wrongful death lawsuit filed after inmate killed by cellmate

Anyone who is incarcerated is in the care of correctional agencies. These agencies have certain responsibilities to keep them safe. When a person dies while serving a sentence in British Columbia, his or her surviving family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. One family has recently chosen to take these steps in reaction to the 2016 death of their son at Surrey Pretrial Center.

The lawsuit alleges that the 25-year-old was asphyxiated by a cellmate while awaiting trial for driving illegally.  The family claim that those who were responsible for protecting the individual did not protect him and allowed him to be placed in a cell with a dangerous individual. They say that the authorities should not have placed the two people in a segregation together, given their knowledge about the risk of violence in correctional institutions and the criminal background of the man's assailant.

Court documents clarify that most segregation cells hold two individuals. This practice is known as "double bunking." The lawsuit claims that this practice, which places an individual in a cell with another for 23 hours per day, is not safe in its current form due to the lack of safety monitoring practices.

The family in question is suing for negligence, wrongful death and abuse of public office. The case has yet to go to court and the Attorney General's Office and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Office have declined to comment until the court proceeds. Those whose loved ones have died due to negligence, be it in a correctional facility, hospital, or any other location, should speak to a British Columbia lawyer about their legal options.

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