Salt Lake County and Valley Mental Health will pay $90,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of a county jail inmate who killed himself in 1997.
Henry Troy Delgado used his shoelaces to hang himself in the jail's mental-health unit. After his suicide, the county banned shoelaces in jail, the lawsuit said.The suit was filed on behalf of Delgado's mother, Barbara Rushton, and his children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.
The suit contended jail and mental health staff were indifferent to the risk Delgado could commit suicide, violating his constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. It also alleges staff negligently allowed him to have shoes with laces.
While the settlement amount was low for a wrongful death case, Delgado did not have a significant work history to support a higher claim of lost income, said his attorney, Brian Barnard.
Rushton has decided to place the settlement in a trust account for the children, Barnard said.
Delgado, 30, was booked into the jail on July 16, 1997, on charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon.
Delgado was transferred to the jail's mental-health services unit and placed on full suicide prevention status. It was after staff took him off that alert status that Delgado killed himself.