State, contractor to pay $1.25 million to settle prisoner lawsuit

LANSING (AP) — A judge has approved a $1.25 million settlement in a lawsuit over the care of a mentally ill Michigan prison inmate.

Lawyers for Darlene Martin’s family said she was denied food and water at times and forced to sit in her own excrement while in segregation for 10 days in 2014. Water to her cell was cut off.

Martin, 70, died in 2017, more than a year after she was released from the Huron Valley women’s prison where she served a sentence for retail fraud.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the state of Michigan will pay $550,000 and Corizon Health will pay $700,000. Corizon, a private company,
provides health care to prison inmates. A federal judge approved the settlement last week.

An email seeking comment was sent to Corizon, which is based in Brentwood, Tennessee. The state Corrections Department referred requests for comment to the attorney general’s office, which represented the agency in the litigation. There were no immediate responses Wednesday.

Corizon tried to have the case dismissed, but U.S. District Judge David Lawson ruled against the company in September 2018.

The Martin family’s lawyers will get $475,000 in fees and expenses from the $1.25 million.