Jamycheal Mitchell’s family reaches settlement with HRRJ, NaphCare

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly two years after filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, the family of Jamycheal Mitchell is receiving a settlement, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2016 by Mitchell’s aunt, Roxanne Adams, on behalf of the 24-year-old who died of starvation in his HRRJ cell in 2015.

The $3 million settlement comes from the jail and the health care provider for the jail at the time. $1 million will go toward legal fees and the rest will be split between his family.

Mitchell was diagnosed as “manic and psychotic,” and a judge ordered him to be restored to competency by Eastern State Hospital; however, Mitchell was never transferred and spent nearly 100 days in the HRRJ’s restrictive housing unit.

Mitchell was put into restrictive housing for refusing to be tested for tuberculosis. He remained there under the classification “administrative restriction — unable to adapt,” according to a report released by the Department of Justice.

Mitchell’s family sought $60 million in damages against defendants like the HRRJ and NaphCare, Inc., the healthcare provider for the jail at the time of his death.

On Thursday, a copy of the settlement was uploaded into the U.S. General District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; however, that copy was removed after court officials realized they’d mistakenly published the settlement amount.

The settlement was refiled and does not disclose the amount that Mitchell’s family will settle for, but says that “a portion of the settlement required the Governor’s approval,” according to court documents.

The defendants, including the HRRJ, NaphCare and others, do not admit liability or fault in Mitchell’s death as part of the settlement, court documents state.

Although Mitchell’s family has agreed on an amount to settle for, they haven’t agreed how to split the money up between themselves. Court documents show that Mitchell’s mother, father and sibilings are in disagreement about how the money should be issued. The defendants have asked that a judge hold a separate hearing to determine how the money will be distributed.

The settlement comes about a month after the DOJ released its findings of a two-year investigation that showed that conditions at the HRRJ are in violation of inmates’ basic constitution rights and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The conditions detailed in this report should not exist in this facility or anywhere in Virginia,” Attorney General Mark Herring wrote in a statment after the DOJ report was released. 

“I requested this investigation because it was clear the Hampton Roads community needed and deserved answers about what was going on in this facility, especially in light of the deaths of Jamycheal Mitchell and Henry Clay Stewart, Jr. and the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding those deaths. The Department of Justice’s findings should be a serious wake-up call, and a catalyst for even more work at HRRJ and around the Commonwealth to ensure the safety and health of inmates, especially those with mental illness,” Herring continued.

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