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"Justice for Jeremy" Continues to Seek Reform in Law Enforcement Officials' Treatment of Citizens With Mental Illness
STOCKTON, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 26, 2016) - The wheels of "Justice for Jeremy" are finally -- after nearly six years in court -- turning in the right direction. A $1.575 million settlement has been reached and approved today by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in Lum v. County of San Joaquin, et. al. (case #2:10-CV-01807-LKK-DAD).
The lawsuit was originally filed in July 2010 on behalf of the parents of 29-year-old Jeremy Lum, a long-time Lathrop, Calif. resident who suffered from mental illness and died after San Joaquin County police officers mistakenly jailed him for public intoxication on July 9, 2009. The suit alleged violations of Lum's civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act, false arrest, and wrongful death.
"While we are pleased to have settled this lawsuit, justice will not be served until law enforcement officials in San Joaquin County, Stockton, San Francisco and everywhere else in our country are getting much-needed mental health training and establishing effective protocols to prevent tragic deaths like Jeremy's. We must continue this fight, and we hope this settlement brings a heightened awareness of this issue to the highest ranks of San Joaquin County's political and justice system," said Walter "Skip" Walker with the San Francisco-based law firm of Walker, Hamilton & Koenig LLP, which with co-counsel Boris E. Efron of the Efron firm in Portola Valley represented the Lum family.
Lum, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and under the care of a psychiatrist, was suffering a psychotic episode when he was arrested for public intoxication just before midnight on July 8, 2009. He was jailed, and then released on the morning of July 9, 2009, never again to be seen alive. Over the course of a nearly six-year court battle, details have surfaced around the many instances in which the officials at the county jail failed to properly assess the status of, care for, or monitor Lum, despite having procedures in place for the treatment of those with mental health issues.
The eight-member San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors approved the $1,575,000 settlement during its regular meeting earlier today.
A group of concerned citizens and family members seeking "Justice for Jeremy" was formed nearly seven years ago and has rallied annually on the anniversary of Lum's death. They aim to call attention to the inadequate responses from public agencies in handling those suffering from mental health issues and to educate, advocate and provide resources and training to law enforcement, first responders, public service agencies, individuals and immediate families of people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. "Justice for Jeremy" has vowed to continue these efforts.
"We hope no family ever has to go through the heartbreak and agony of having a loved one -- already struggling with a mental health diagnosis -- die at the hands of the government officials sworn to protect and serve them," said Dorathea Timmons, Lum's mother. "In addition, San Joaquin County needs to take care to fulfill its duty to offer transportation options to those it releases from custody. A simple bus ticket might have saved my son's life."
About Walker, Hamilton & Koenig, LLP and The Law Offices of Boris Efron
The attorneys at San Francisco-based Walker, Hamilton & Koenig LLP and their co-counsel, The Law Offices of Boris Efron of Portola Valley, are dedicated to representing injury victims and their families with honesty and compassion. The deep experience of each firm extends to claims of medical malpractice; wrongful death; government, premises and product liability; insurance bad faith; and all manner of personal injury, including transportation-related claims, elder abuse and injuries to tourists and travelers.