Connecticut officials are paying $250,000 and admitting no wrongdoing in a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a state prison inmate who gave birth on a toilet in her cell and claimed she was denied medical care, according to details of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday.
Attorney General William Tong’s office provided the AP with a copy of the settlement with Tianna Laboy, who said she complained about severe abdominal pain and bloody discharge in the hours leading up to the birth in 2018 but was told medical staff weren't available.
The settlement was announced last month but the details were not disclosed until now.
Under the agreement, about $83,000 will be subtracted from the $250,000 to pay for attorney fees, said Kenneth Krayeske, one of Laboy’s lawyers. Two-thirds of the remainder, about $112,000, will go into a trust for Laboy’s daughter and one-third, about $55,000, will go into a trust for Laboy, 23, who is serving a seven-year sentence at the state women’s prison for the non-fatal stabbing of a male companion in New Britain in 2017.
The deal does not include any of the reforms Laboy sought, including required medical training for employees that would improve conditions at the York Correctional Institution women’s prison in Niantic.
Krayeske said the settlement is the best option for Laboy’s family at this time, and she likely will file more litigation over the conditions of her confinement.
“It’s only money,” Krayeske said Saturday. “It doesn’t deal with the conditions of her confinement and it doesn’t deal with some of the larger issues. We didn’t get any injunctive relief or promises from the state that this doesn’t happen again.”
Elizabeth Benton, a spokeswoman for Tong, said in a statement, “We believe this settlement serves the best interests of all involved. The Office of the Attorney General is committed to the fair treatment of all incarcerated individuals.”
Laboy gave birth in the toilet of her cell on Feb. 13, 2018, five weeks prematurely, without medical assistance, her lawsuit said.
Laboy’s daughter, now in the custody of Laboy’s mother, spent two weeks in intensive care after being born.
Following the birth, two UConn Health employees, who provided medical care at the prison, were escorted out of the prison and told not to return while the matter was under review. Their licenses are listed as current on the state Department of Public Health website, with no record of disciplinary actions or pending charges against them.
Two weeks after the birth, the state announced it would move responsibility for the inmate medical care from UConn Health to the Department of Correction, in response to growing concerns over the medical treatment given to inmates statewide, including Laboy.
A Department of Correction investigation identified a series of missteps, including the fact that nurses didn’t connect Laboy’s abdominal pain to preterm labor.