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Lawsuit: Wellpath refused a jail detainee’s antipsychotic medication, resulting in him trying to hang himself

Absurdly, this is the deplorable standard of care that taxpayers are paying for through the county’s $250 million contract with Wellpath and its private equity ownership.”
— Civil Rights Attorney Adanté Pointer, of Pointer & Buelna
DUBLIN, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, April 16, 2024 / -- In yet another example of Alameda County and its jail medical provider failing to provide adequate care to detainees at Santa Rita Jail, a new federal civil rights lawsuit accuses Wellpath of refusing to provide antipsychotic medication to a man with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, leading to his attempted suicide six days after being booked into Santa Rita Jail. Wellpath provides medical services to the Dublin jail.

While at Santa Rita Jail, Julian Martinez started hearing voices telling him to kill himself. Martinez’s wife, Alisha, began calling Santa Rita Jail immediately to inform them Julian needed his prescribed mental health medication. At the same time, Martinez sought help from a Wellpath nurse, explaining in detail his mental health condition, the medications he was prescribed, and their exact dosages.

Instead of checking his medical records or attempting to evaluate his pre-existing health, the lawsuit states that the Wellpath nurse told jail staff that Martinez was lying and failed to place him into the jail’s medical observation unit. Left without medication, Julian’s health deteriorated and he tried to hang himself. His life was saved by another inmate who found him and alerted jail staff.

“Julian Martinez is a beloved father and husband, who endured unimaginable suffering due to the carelessness of a Wellpath nurse who clearly isn’t fit to work with vulnerable individuals,” said Adanté Pointer, civil rights attorney with Oakland-based Pointer & Buelna LLP. “Absurdly, this is the deplorable standard of care that taxpayers are paying for through the county’s $250 million contract with Wellpath and its private equity ownership.”

Nationally, more than 1,000 federal lawsuits have been filed against Wellpath by prisoners, their families, and civil rights groups. The Nashville, Tenn. company is also the target of three U.S. Department of Justice quality of care investigations, and four FBI investigations.

Wellpath is a defendant in two other civil rights lawsuits filed by Pointer and Buelna, each involving the death of a person held in custody before their trials. (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Francisco; The Estate of Maurice Monk v. Alameda County, Wellpath Community Care LLC, et al, 3:22-cv-04037-TSH, Oct. 6, 2023; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, in Sacramento; Overfield v. Wellpath Community Care LLC, County of El Dorado, et. al.; Case 2:24-at-00052, Jan. 16, 2024.)

According to civil rights attorney Ty Clarke of Pointer & Buelna “It’s clear that Wellpath does not care about protecting the health and rights of those in custody. And it’s time for those responsible for bringing Wellpath into Santa Rita Jail to seriously reconsider whether to continue enriching such a company.”

The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco; Martinez v. Wellpath LLC, County of Alameda, City of Fremont and California Forensic Medical Group; Case 4:24-cv-01961 (March 29, 2024).

About Pointer & Buelna, LLP, Lawyers for the People: Civil rights attorneys Adanté Pointer and Patrick Buelna started their law firm to give people a chance against large institutions like the police, government, corporations and insurance companies. They have secured many of the largest trial verdicts and settlements in these practice areas.

Robert Frank
Newsroom Public Relations
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