A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a $2.9 million award for the family of a man who died while in custody in the Orange County jail.
Robert Montano was jailed in 2011 on a public intoxication charge. Court documents say he died of acute renal failure after approximately four-and-a-half days’ detention in a glass-walled observation cell. His family was awarded $2.4 Million plus legal fees in 2015, and the county quickly filed an appeal.
The ruling issued Tuesday by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans upholds the 2015 award.
Documents released by the court say, “During Mr. Montano’s detention, he consumed little, if any, food or water; his vital signs were checked once at most; he was never seen by a physician; and emergency care was requested by the jail staff only minutes before his death.”
The attorney for Montano's family tells 12News that Orange County needs to stop their appeals and own up to their mistakes.
"This man died 5 years ago and this family needs closure," said Cade Bernson, the family attorney. "We have had a jury trial, a trial judge affirmed the decision and now (Orange County) have had their day in front of a federal appeals court. This family needs closure, the taxpayer needs closure."
"(Orange County) needs to look in the mirror and see how they do business. The ruling was scathing in how they treated their inmates.