Jail Death Claims Since 2013 Some of the completed cases involving Monterey County Jail inmates since 2013


By Royal Calkins

RELATED: Another Monterey County Jail death claim settled 

Oakland lawyer Lori Rifkin previously litigated four other jail deaths with claims against Monterey County during the past decade. The claims resulted in settlements worth about $6 million. Those cases include:

Joshua Claypole, May 2013

Claypole, a longtime mental patient, was arrested for fatally stabbing a cab driver. Shortly after his arrival at the jail, his mother provided his medications but the jail staff refused to accept them. Claypole was placed in a suicide watch cell initially but was soon moved to general population, where he hanged himself.

Settled just before trial for $1.1 million. 

Jacob Parenti, January 2015

Parenti, 33, was in jail for a drug violation and developed flu-like symptoms. Twice he filed medical request slips but they were ignored. He started coughing up blood and his cellmates noticed that he had stopped breathing. The lawsuit says the cellmates called for help but none came for an hour. Too late.

Settled before trial for $385,000.

Mark Parjas Sr., March 2015

Parjas was arrested in King City for resisting arrest after police stopped him for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a one-way street. At the jail he reported that he was a heroin addict who had used that day. The nursing staff recommended that he be placed in a narcotics detox protocol but CFMG, Wellpath’s predecessor as the jail’s medical provider, didn’t have such a protocol. He died hours later. 

Plantiffs won a jury verdict of $1.6 million and settled for additional fees for a total of $2.875 million.

Sandra Vela, May 2015

The Soledad woman, 52, had recently undergone brain surgery when she was arrested during a domestic disturbance. At the jail she was not provided with her medications or medical treatment despite repeated requests. Within the next week, she became delusional, accusing the sheriff of killing her husband. Two weeks into her stay, she hanged herself with a pink bed sheet.

Settled for $2.85 million after the family won a summary judgment against the county.

Emeryville lawyer Jamie Goldstein also has sued Monterey County on behalf of inmates who have died in Monterey County Jail. Those cases include:

Lara Ann Gillis, December 2015

Gillis was arrested in Marina on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Shortly after she was jailed she was unresponsive in her cell and was taken to Natividad Medical Center, where she died. An autopsy showed that she had died of multiple organ failure caused by a urinary tract infection, a highly treatable condition that was ignored by the jail.

Gillis’ children received an $825,000 settlement.

Another jail death case litigated by Goldstein is in its early stages.

Carlos Patino Regalado, March 2021

Regalado had been in custody for about a month and was on suicide watch off and on because he had attempted to kill himself. On the day he hanged himself, Regalado had been sent to the infirmary because of a “psychiatric emergency.” When he was returned to his cell, he was placed on a suicide watch again but was soon taken off that special status. Hours later, he was found hanging from a piece of cloth attached to the grate of a vent.


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Royal Calkins

About Royal Calkins

Contributing writer Royal Calkins has worked for newspapers in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Fresno. For the past couple of years, he has produced a local news and commentary blog, the Monterey Bay Partisan. He can be reached at calkinsroyal@gmail.com.

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