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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS DALLAS DIVISION AUTUMN MILLER, Individually and on behalf of the ESTATE of GRACIE ROBINSON Plaintiffs, v. CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA Defendant. § § § § § § § § § § § §

CIVIL ACTION NO. (ECF)

PLAINTIFFS’ ORIGINAL COMPLAINT THE PARTIES 1. Plaintiff Autumn Miller is the mother of Gracie Robinson, who was born and died while

Autumn Miller was in the custody of and completely dependent on Defendant Corrections Corporation of America. Autumn Miller currently resides in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. Autumn Miller brings claims on her own behalf and on behalf of the estate of her daughter, Gracie Robinson (hereinafter “Plaintiffs”). 2. Defendant Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”) is a private for-profit

corporation that contracts with the State of Texas to operate the Dawson State Jail. CCA is a Maryland corporation with its principal office at 300 East Lombard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. CCA can be served through its registered agent for service of process in Texas, CT Corporation System, 350 N. St. Paul St., Ste 2900, Dallas, Texas 75201-4234.

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JURISDICTION AND VENUE 3. This Court has jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because it

involves a federal question, namely, violations of the United States laws and of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. 4. This court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ state-law claims pursuant to 28

U.S.C. § 1367 because the claims are part of the same case or controversy as Plaintiffs’ federal claims. 5. This Court has personal jurisdiction over CCA because CCA does business in the state of

Texas pursuant to a contract with the State of Texas under which it operates the Dawson State Jail in Dallas, Texas. CCA thus has sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Texas. 6. Plaintiffs also bring supplemental negligence claims and claims under the Texas

Wrongful Death and Survival Statutes. As such, Plaintiffs invoke the supplemental jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). 7. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) because substantially all

of the events or omissions giving rise to Plaintiffs’ claims occurred in this district. 8. This is a suit for damages brought by Plaintiffs against Defendant for violations of the

Eighth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution pursuant to Title 42 § 1983. Plaintiffs are not prisoners as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(h) and therefore, are not subject to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e’s provisions regarding the exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Plaintiffs’ Original Complaint

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BENEFICIARY UNDER TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL STATUTES 9. Autumn Miller is a statutory beneficiary of her daughter Gracie Robinson and is entitled

to bring this action on account of her wrongful death. Therefore, Autumn Miller brings this action pursuant to §71.004 of the Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code. 10. Autumn Miller brings this action pursuant to the Texas Wrongful Death Statute and the

Texas Survival Statute regarding the death of Gracie. Gracie died intestate. No administration of Gracie’s estate is necessary or pending. THE FACTS 11. In January 2012, Autumn learned that there was a warrant out for her arrest due to a

violation of her probation for a drug possession charge. She turned herself in at the police department in Decatur. On or about February 12, 2012, she was sent to Dawson State Jail to serve a one-year sentence for violating probation for the drug possession charge, a non-violent offense. 12. In or around late May or early June 2012, Autumn was not feeling well. She had been

feeling a lot of cramps and fatigue. In accordance with policies at Dawson, Autumn wrote down her symptoms on a piece of paper. She requested a pregnancy test and a pap smear and submitted her written request to a CCA guard on duty. She never got a pregnancy test or an appointment for a pap smear. 13. At or around 1:30 a.m. on June 14, 2012, Autumn alerted CCA guards to the fact that she

was in an extreme amount of pain, was bleeding horribly, felt like she was having a baby, and needed medical attention. She could barely walk.

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14.

Approximately two hours later, around 3:30 a.m., two male CCA guards and a male

Sergeant took Autumn to the medical unit (“Medical”). Unfortunately for Autumn, and contrary to the title “medical unit”, there is in reality no medical staff at Dawson at night. 15. According to CCA’s policy existing at the time, all after-hours calls for medical whether

minor or urgent, were to be triaged by a nurse in a different facility. The policy required CCA employees to bring the patient to Medical and allow them to speak with the triage nurse via telephone or via Digital Medical Services (“DMS”). The policy forbade CCA employees from making any sort of medical assessment of the patient. However, CCA does not provide

sufficient training or supervision of its employees regarding the policy. As a result, CCA employees routinely use their own judgment as to whether a patient gets access to medical care. 16. When Autumn first arrived at Medical, the DMS monitor was turned on and a male nurse

was visible on the screen. A CCA guard told Autumn to get off the stretcher and walk into the room with the DMS. Autumn told him she could not walk because she was in so much pain. She told the guard “I think I am in labor.” 17. Rather than allow Autumn to describe her extreme pain and blood loss to the nurse, a

CCA guard informed the nurse that Autumn did not need medical attention and turned off the monitor. 18. These actions violated CCA’s policies and procedures, which expressly prohibited CCA

employees from making any assessment of an offender’s health and instead required CCA to call the triage nurse so that the patient could be evaluated by a medical professional. CCA

employees have zero medical training. According to CCA policy, CCA employees had no authority or discretion to assess the patient’s condition and deny them access to medical care.

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19.

In complete disregard for the telemedicine policy, the CCA guard shut off the

telemedicine monitor, preventing Autumn and Gracie from getting the medical evaluation they desperately needed. 20. The CCA guard did not allow Autumn to speak with a triage nurse or place her in front of

the DMS monitor so she could be observed by a triage nurse. 21. cell. 22. 23. Autumn was screaming in pain. She was losing blood rapidly. She could barely walk. Autumn managed to get herself to the toilet in the holding cell. She looked down and Instead, a CCA employee handed Autumn a menstrual pad and locked her in a holding

watched, in horror, as she delivered baby Gracie into the toilet. 24. She screamed and screamed for help. She was surrounded by blood. She was terrified

and could barely move. 25. When a CCA guard outside the holding cell attempted to get inside, they could not find

the key. 26. 27. Approximately fifteen minutes passed. Finally, CCA guards entered the room where Autumn was screaming and her baby was

barely breathing. 28. Several CCA employees came into the holding cell while Gracie lay there helpless next

to her bleeding mother. Some were screaming at the sight of so much blood. 29. No one from CCA tried to help Gracie while she lay, still attached to Autumn by her

umbilical cord. However, one CCA employee found time to get a video camera. 30. Approximately five to ten minutes passed before anyone from CCA called 911.

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31.

Finally, an ambulance arrived. Medical personnel cut the cord and began trying to save

Gracie’s life. Autumn lay on the bottom bunk in the holding cell, bleeding and crying, while the ambulance drove away with her baby girl. Autumn thought she would bleed to death and never see her baby again. 32. Later, another ambulance came to transport Autumn to the hospital where Gracie was

being kept alive by machines. Before she was allowed in the ambulance, CCA employees handcuffed Autumn and shackled her feet together. 33. At the hospital, Autumn learned that Gracie was born prematurely at 26 weeks. She

weighed little more than one pound. 34. When she did get to visit Gracie in the intensive care unit, Autumn was still handcuffed

and shackled. Autumn could barely move in her hospital room. Even after her doctor requested the handcuffs be removed so Autumn, a non-violent offender, could care for herself, CCA guards would barely remove her handcuffs or foot shackles to allow Autumn to go to the bathroom or shower. 35. Gracie died four days after she was born into a toilet at Dawson. Within an hour of

Gracie’s death, CCA employees took Autumn back to Dawson. 36. Once Autumn was back at Dawson, CCA employees harassed her numerous times about

her pregnancy. They wanted her to sign a statement admitting that she slept with a guard or an inmate at Dawson. CCA employees threatened Autumn saying that it was a punishable offense to have sex in jail. CCA insisted she must have become pregnant while she was incarcerated. 37. Despite the repeated insistence by CCA that she sign the form, Autumn refused to sign

the document attesting to a lie. She told them that she never had sex with anyone at Dawson, that unbeknownst to her she must have been pregnant when she arrived at Dawson, and that she

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knew who Gracie’s father was. Gracie was born after twenty-six weeks gestation, and on June 14, 2012, Autumn had been at Dawson for approximately seventeen weeks. 38. As a result of Defendants’ deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs, failure

to follow the existing telemedicine policy, failure to adequately supervise and train its employees to follow the telemedicine policy, and to supervise and train its officers and agents to act in an emergency, Autumn is traumatized and Gracie is dead. CAUSE OF ACTION I Cruel and Unusual Punishment - § 1983 39. 40. Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 - 38 above as if fully set out herein. CCA violated Autumn and Gracie Robinson’s constitutional and civil rights provided in

the United States Constitution under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, Defendant CCA violated Autumn and Gracie’s rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by acting with deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs. 41. CCA deprived of Autumn and Gracie’s constitutional rights and acted with deliberate

indifference to their serious medical needs. 42. CCA refused to get Autumn access to care and ignored her complaints with wanton

disregard for any serious medical needs as set out above. CCA’s knowledge of the substantial risk of harm to Autumn may be inferred from the fact that: (1) she informed the guards that she felt like she was having a baby, (2) believed she was in labor, and (3) their observation of her blood loss, screams in pain, and inability to walk. CCA’s knowledge of the substantial risk of harm to Gracie may be inferred from the fact Autumn informed the guards that she felt like she was having a baby, (2) believed she was in labor, and (3) their observation of her tiny body floating in the toilet, and (4) their belated call to 911.

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43.

The wrongful acts and omissions of CCA constitute reckless disregard and conscious

indifference to Autumn and Gracie’s safety and physical wellbeing and posed a substantial risk of serious harm in violation of their right to due process of law and to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. 44. CCA failed to train its employees sufficiently in its telemedicine policy, or CCA would

have permitted Autumn to speak with the medical professional on the DMS monitor when she arrived in Medical. 45. CCA, moreover, failed to implement appropriate policies that could have prevented

Gracie’s death and had a pattern of disregarding the serious medical needs of its inhabitants, and its inaction in implementing these policies was the result of deliberate indifference to the rights of its inhabitants, including Autumn and Gracie. 46. Each of these deficient policies and failures to train was a moving force behind Autumn’s

physical and emotional injuries and Gracie’s pain, suffering, and death. 47. CCA, moreover, had actual and constructive notice that its employees and agents were

not providing access to care for inmates like Autumn. Several other inmates have died at Dawson due to CCA employees’ failure to follow the telemedicine policy. CCA thus had actual and constructive notice that that its actions and failures were substantially certain to cause injury to Autumn and Gracie, and it consciously and deliberately chose to disregard that risk of harm. 48. CCA’s failure to have appropriate policies and procedures for after-hours emergency

care, moreover, was also a moving force behind Autumn’s physical and emotional injuries and Gracie’s pain, suffering, and death. 49. As set out above, at the time of Gracie’s death, CCA had a “telemedicine” policy.

According to this policy, CCA officers had no authority or discretion to determine if the patient

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needed medical attention. However, CCA employees decided Autumn did not require medical attention and turned off the DMS, preventing the triage nurse from assessing Autumn’s medical condition. 50. CCA did not request and Autumn and Gracie did not receive medical care until after

Autumn delivered Gracie into the toilet while locked in the holding cell. By then, it was too late. 51. In the alternative, because Gracie’s death was highly predictable and was a plainly

obvious consequence of CCA’s disregard of Autumn’s and Gracie’s serious medical needs, of its deficient after-hours medical policy, and of its failure to train its employees to follow the telemedicine policy, CCA acted with deliberate indifference even absent a pattern of similar unconstitutional behavior. 52. Before Gracie’s death, CCA knew that Autumn thought she was pregnant, was

experiencing significant bleeding from her vagina, and believed herself to be in labor. CCA thus knew that Autumn could deliver a baby in the jail, overnight, when no medical personnel are on duty and it was highly predictable and plainly obvious that the baby’s and mother’s lives were at risk. Still, CCA acted with deliberate indifference by failing to transfer Autumn to a facility that could provide proper prenatal care for her and her baby, and by leaving her to deliver her baby alone while locked in a holding cell in the middle of the night. 53. The wrongful acts and/or omissions of CCA constitute reckless disregard and conscious

indifference to Autumn’s and Gracie’s safety and physical well-being and posed a substantial risk of harm in violation of their rights to due process of law and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

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54.

CCA’s pattern of unconstitutional conduct and policies were so pervasive as to constitute

actual or constructive knowledge of the conduct on the part of its policy makers, whose deliberate indifference to the unconstitutional practices is evidenced by a failure to correct the situation once the need for training and supervision became obvious. The above described acts and omissions constitute a pattern of constitutional violations and were a proximate cause of Autumn’s physical and emotional injuries and Gracie’s pain, suffering, and death. This pattern of unconstitutional policies, procedures and neglect, included but were not limited to: a. Denying Autumn and Gracie access to medical care; b. Failing to train employees in following its telemedicine policy; c. Failing to train CCA employees to recognize when an inmate might be in labor; d. Implementing a deficient after-hours emergency care policy; and e. Leaving Autumn alone and untreated in the middle of the night to labor and deliver a baby without access to medical care. 55. CCA also failed to train and supervise its employees and agents to recognize emergency

medical situations, including but not limited to premature labor and how to handle emergency medical situations. CCA’s lack of supervision, training, and policy making was a moving force behind the constitutional violations alleged herein, and Plaintiffs suffered damages and injuries as a result. 56. Additionally, CCA subjected Autumn to cruel and unusual punishment by falsely

accusing her of having sex while at Dawson, repeatedly asking her to sign a document admitting to having sex while at Dawson, and threatening to accuse her of a punishable offense.

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57.

Furthermore, CCA subjected Gracie to cruel and unusual punishment by exposing her, a

premature infant, to birth into a toilet, locked in a jail cell, to then be left, still attached by her umbilical cord, cold, naked, wet and desperately fighting for life. 58. The above-described deprivations of Autumn’s and Gracie’s constitutional rights were a

direct and proximate result of the acts, omissions, policies, and customs of CCA. As a direct and proximate result of the constitutional violations alleged herein, Autumn suffered physical and emotional injuries and her daughter suffered for four days and then died. CAUSE OF ACTION II Negligence 59. 60. Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 - 58 above as if fully set out herein. Autumn was an inmate at Dawson State Jail which was operated and controlled by CCA.

As an inmate, Autumn was entirely dependent upon CCA to protect her health, safety, and wellbeing and to get her access to medical care. Her daughter, Gracie, a human being, was entirely dependent on CCA for survival, and was denied even the most rudimentary care. 61. CCA had a duty to ensure Autumn’s health, safety and well-being by providing her with

reasonable access to medical care while she was an inmate at Dawson. 62. CCA failed to carry out this duty owed to Autumn in a reasonable manner and breached

said duty by: a. Failing to establish, maintain and enforce policies, protocols, and procedures to ensure that inmates at Dawson, including Autumn, were provided with timely access to medical care and treatment, in accordance with accepted standards;

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b. Failing to hire and employ competent and suitable personnel to provide inmates at Dawson, including Autumn, with timely access to medical care and treatment; and c. Failing to properly train, supervise and direct its employees at Dawson to provide inmates, including Autumn, with timely access to medical care and treatment in accordance with accepted standards. 63. As a direct and proximate cause of these deviations, Autumn endured physical and

emotional injuries and her daughter died an untimely and preventable death. AFFIRMATIVE PLEADINGS 64. This case does not arise under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74 because it does not

involve a health care liability claim, but is instead based upon Defendant’s deprivation of Autumn’s and Gracie’s rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and on Defendants’ failure to provide Autumn and Gracie with access to medical care. Further, CCA has

consistently maintained the position that it is not a health care provider and that its personnel are not allowed to provide health care. 65. In the event this case is construed as arising under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74,

Plaintiffs are not required to produce an expert report within 120 days because this case was filed in federal court. See e.g. Toler v. Sunrise Senior Living Services, Inc., SA-06-CV-0887-XR, 2007 WL 869581 at *4 (W.D. Tex., March 21, 2007). JURY DEMAND 66. Plaintiffs demand a trial by jury and tender the appropriate fee.

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PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, after trial of this case, Plaintiffs respectfully request a judgment for Plaintiffs for an award of damages for Autumn’s physical and emotional injuries and Gracie’s physical injuries and death. Respectfully submitted, _/s/ Suzanne Kaplan_______________________ Paula F. Sweeney Texas Bar No. 07044300 Email: psweeney@slackdavis.com SLACK & DAVIS, L.L.P. 2911 Turtle Creek Blvd., Suite 1400 Dallas, Texas 75219 Telephone: 214-528-8686 Suzanne Kaplan Texas Bar No. 24067699 Email: skaplan@slackdavis.com SLACK & DAVIS, L.L.P. 2705 Bee Cave Road, Suite 220 Austin, Texas 78745 Telephone: 512-795-8686 Fax: 512-795-8787 COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS

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