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Suit over jail ordeal alleges civil-rights violations, wrongful death

Published: Mon, December 27, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Jordan Cohen



The mother of a Trumbull County jail inmate who died after being Tasered last year has filed a federal lawsuit against the county, Sheriff Thomas Altiere and Dr. Philip Malvasi, the jail’s medical director and physician.

The lawsuit charges civil-rights violations, wrongful death and medical malpractice.

Altiere said he has not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Joan Padula, of Ravenna, said her son, Kurt Platzer, 32, of Warren, suffered seizures due to advanced alcohol withdrawal. She claims that jail corrections officers were aware of his condition but still shocked him when he became belligerent. The lawsuit also claims that Dr. Malvasi never met with Platzer, did not prescribe any treatment or order him to a hospital.

The suit states that Platzer had been sentenced to a 30-day jail term in June 2009 after he appeared in court while he was under the influence. According to the lawsuit, Platzer had been drinking a fifth of rum daily.

Padula says her son suffered three seizures his first day at the jail and became delusional on the second day. He suffered a fractured skull from banging his head against a cell wall, which Padula says was confirmed in a coroner’s report.

The lawsuit alleges that on his third day of incarceration, Platzer was Tasered after refusing to cooperate with corrections officers and stopped breathing three hours later. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Health Center.

Padula’s suit claims her son suffered at least four seizures during his confinement.

“To be [Tasered] while in custody is completely unreasonable,” said David Malik, Padula’s attorney. “There were multiple people on hand who should have managed the situation.”

The lawsuit charges Platzer’s civil rights were violated by use of excessive force and the failure of the jail staff to provide appropriate medical treatment. Malvasi is accused of malpractice and his medical assistants, of negligence.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages but does not specify a dollar amount.


1LittleRiver(10 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

It is sad this this young man lost his life. It seems to me that health status and history along with medication and treatment procedures should be implemented and followed. This may have made a calmer environment for all and not ended so tragic. My sympathies to the family.

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2TheYOsFINEST(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree, I hope the family wins!! The Trumbull county jail, and especially, the DR. are a joke! It is sad when someone goes to jail, has a drug or alcohol problem, and the way they make you de-tox, is by claiming you are a "58" (suicide watch) and giving you no meds, and no help at all! I thought doctors, even prison/jail DRs, had to take an oath...The oath in jail, is, if oyu are an alcoholic, or addict, you suffer and de-tox on your own!!

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3digger(9 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

The Real truth of loss of the young man,started with his own life choices. These were of a self absorbed and destructive mindset. The ones closet to him will always be trying to lay the blame on other shoulders. Trying to vilify the village for the actions of an individual is sad memory that will forever be attached to the loss,How can the healing begin.

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4TheYOsFINEST(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

People do not choose to become alcoholics, or addicts. Thats is something to be said from someone who has never been, or had a family member in that situation!! We do not know why he had the problems that he had, and regardless, if someone has cancer, do we let them sit in a room with no treatment, and suffer? Alcoholism, and addiction, are diseases, and should be treated accordingly!!

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5southsidedave(5118 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

We all make life choices.

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