Brett Weiner, a 21-year-old man with a history of mental health problems, expressed a desire to harm himself. He was taken to a hospital, where his condition stabilized. Arrangements were then made to transfer him to another facility.
Emergency technicians from Pacific Ambulance, Inc., arrived at the hospital to transfer Weiner and placed Velcro wrist restraints on him. While riding in the back of an ambulance on the way to the second facility, Weiner removed the wrist restraints, jumped out of the vehicle into oncoming freeway traffic, and was struck and killed by another vehicle.
Weiner’s parents sued Pacific Ambulance, alleging it negligently used quick-release soft restraints during the transfer, not leather restraints or something stronger. The plaintiffs argued that in the four years before Weiner’s death, 20 other patients in the defendant’s care had been able to remove their quick-release restraints. Suit also claimed negligent monitoring of Weiner in the ambulance.
The jury awarded $1 million.
Citation: Weiner v. P. Ambul., Inc., No. 30-2012-00550614 (Cal., Orange Co. Super. July 24, 2013).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Jon M. Jackson, Laguna Hills, Calif.
Plaintiff expert: Brian Mathews, emergency transportation, Mission Viejo, Calif.