Jury awards $12 million to family of man denied medicine in Illinois prison

January 18, 2013

(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
Ray Fox's step-father, Everett Green (left), his mother, Rose (center), and daughter, Trisha, pose for a photo in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building after a jury awarded them $12 million.

A Chicago jury awarded $12 million on Friday to the family of a man whose family said he did not get proper medical attention while in a state prison.

Ray Fox was in Stateville prison in 2007 when he had a brain aneurysm. His attorneys said that aneurysm happened because Fox wasn’t provided his anti-seizure medicine for days, even though he’d been calling out for it.

The 50-year-old Fox now needs constant, around-the-clock medical attention, which he gets from his mom, Rose Fox.

“You trust the system to take care of your loved ones and then they abuse them,” Rose said after the verdict. “And that’s terrible.  What happened to Ray should never happen.”

During the week-long trial, jurors heard testimony from Trisha Fox, Ray’s daughter. She said since his aneurysm, her father sometimes pounds on his chest uncontrollably, has trouble walking and going to the bathroom and gets aggressive.

“It’s about the psychology of not seeing the human portion of the people that are incarcerated for any number of reasons,” said Michael Kanovitz, Fox’s attorney. “Most people, if they break a law and they have to go to prison, they are there to pay their debt to society. It is not right to injure them in a way that will follow them for the rest of their life.”

The Fox family sued several parties that provide health care services in Illinois’ prisons. Most settled out of court.  Two who did not were David Barnes and Michael Borkowski, medical technicians who delivered medicine to inmates. They are represented by attorneys with the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

Those attorneys argued it’s not clear Fox had seizures that caused his debilitating aneurysm.