BATON ROUGE — The East Baton Rouge Parish prison system is
offering about $27,000 to the family of a 25-year-old man who died in
police custody two days after being booked.
The Advocate recently reported
that Randall Toler, a diabetic, was booked on one count of
shoplifting in the Baton Rouge area in April 2015. The man’s
mother, Tina Fugate, who filed a lawsuit
in the death last April, alleged that Toler did not receive proper
medical attention after he was booked into the parish. He died on
April 20, 2015, of diabetic ketoacidosis, or a condition caused by a
shortage of insulin, the suit claimed.
“The U.S. Constitution protects prisoners against ‘cruel and
unusual punishment,'” Bill Quigley, a professor of law at Loyola
University New Orleans, told the Louisiana Record. “The
courts have interpreted that to mean that jailers are liable for
damages in medical cases when their conduct amounts to 'deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs.'"
that Toler told police officers during his booking process that he
was a diabetic. He was then given 15 units of regular insulin and
held in the parish prison's medical tank for observation. Toler later
complained of nausea and wanting to vomit, according to the suit.
A 19th Judicial District Court commissioner suggested that Toler
be sent to see a doctor. According to the suit, Toler never saw a
doctor and was returned to the medical unit at 4:38 p.m. A few hours
later, Toler was found unresponsive and pronounced dead.
“Jailers are totally responsible for the medical care of people
under their control. It seems uncontested that he was diabetic,”
Quigley said. “It is also uncontested that the jail knew he was
diabetic. The nausea and vomiting show he was in a medical crisis.
And he did not get the medical care that could have saved his life.”
The prison submitted the settlement proposal to the Metro Council
administrator earlier this month. The offer is a settlement of
$25,000, plus $1,976.51 in court costs.
“The $25,000 settlement means the jail knew they were exposed to
damages for their conduct and they decided to resolve this,”
Quigley said. “It is not at all unusual for cases to settle; more
than 90 [percent] of cases end up settling. While no one usually
admits guilt, the fact that one side pays the other thousands of
dollars sends a pretty clear message that everyone knows one side was
This is the seventh
inmate to die at the prison in the last five years. Quigley
believes this should be a cause of concern for the state of
“Seven inmates dying in this prison since 2012 is certainly
disturbing and is grounds for further investigation into whether
there is a systemic problem with medical care at the jail,” he