The family of 37-year-old Jennifer Lobato says they’re one step closer to justice after a $2.5 million settlement with Jefferson County.
“There will be nothing that will replace Jennifer Lobato in their lives,” said Attorney David Lane. “No amount of money can replace that.”
In 2015, Lobato, a mother of seven children, died of opioid withdrawal while in the Jefferson County jail. An autopsy listed the cause of death as cardiac arrest due to dehydration.
Lane says despite Lobato’s multiple attempts to seek medical attention, help never came.
“She was throwing up on herself and on her stuff,” said Crystal Chavez. “You could totally tell how sick she was.”
Chavez shared a cell with Lobato, and describes the hours leading up to her death.
“Her eyes were half opened,” Chavez said. “I opened her pupil and it didn’t look like it was moving at all.”
When asked if deputies did enough to save Lobato, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader later admitted “she might be alive today if there were intervention.”
On Wednesday, Jefferson County issued the following statement:
“The death of Jennifer Lobato was a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the Lobato family. In response to Ms. Lobato’s passing, the sheriff’s office has changed the drug withdrawal evaluation and treatment processes in the jail. The sheriff’s office is committed to providing a safe environment for inmates in the jail and is working with its medical staff, medical contractor, and an independent medical auditor to continue to evaluate medical care in the jail.”
Lane says the case brings to light the bigger issues of opiate addiction.
“There are a small percentage of people that will die from this stuff,” Lane said. “As jails become more and more aware of it, they will have to take corrective actions.”
Lane says the $2.5 million settlement will be split between Lobato’s seven kids, but they won’t have access to the funds until they’re 21.
A federal civil rights suit continues against Correct Care Solutions, the private medical contractor who was charged with providing medical care to all Jefferson County jail inmates.
Lane says The county’s settlement has no impact on the remaining litigation against the private health care provider.