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Arnold & Porter Files Claim on Behalf of Mother Whose Baby Girl Died After Medical Mistreatment in ICE Custody

August 28, 2018
First of several actions to be taken against entities operating ICE detention facility where baby girl fell ill, was neglected by medical staff

ELOY, AZ, August 28, 2018 — The young mother of a baby girl who died after falling gravely ill and was neglected by medical staff while in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) custody filed a notice of claim against one of the entities that operates the detention facility in Dilley, Texas.

Today's notice, filed by Arnold & Porter on behalf of Yazmin Juarez, is the first of several notices targeting multiple organizations that have responsibility for operating and managing the Dilley facility. Today's claim was sent to the City of Eloy, Az., which serves as the federal government's prime contractor operating the Dilley facility, where Mariee Juarez and her mother were held for 20 days in March.

"Those responsible for providing safe, sanitary conditions and proper medical care failed this little girl, and it caused her to die a painful death. Mariee Juarez entered Dilley a healthy baby girl and 20 days later was discharged a gravely ill child with a life-threatening respiratory infection," said R. Stanton Jones, Partner at Arnold & Porter. "Mariee died just months before her second birthday because ICE, the City of Eloy and others charged with her medical care neglected to provide the most basic standard of care as her condition rapidly deteriorated, and her mother Yazmin pleaded for help. We will do everything we can to ensure nothing like this ever happens again."

Yazmin's legal team at Arnold & Porter, who are handling this matter on a pro bono basis, intend to pursue litigation against ICE and others responsible for Mariee's tragic and excruciatingly painful death that occurred six weeks after she was discharged from Dilley. Mariee spent those six seeks at New Jersey and Philadelphia hospitals where doctors and specialists tried, to no avail, to save the baby whose lungs had collapsed from a respiratory infection.

Within a week of entering Dilley, Mariee was running a 104-degree fever, suffering from a cough, congestion, diarrhea, and vomiting. The medical staff who discharged her weeks later noted none of these conditions and cleared her for travel without even seeing Mariee, conducting any kind of examination or taking her vitals.

The plaintiff is seeking $40 million from Eloy in these wrongful death claims. The litigation is also expected to involve multiple other defendants and multiple jurisdictions.

"After reviewing the medical records from Mariee's treatment at the Dilley detention facility, it is clear that ICE medical staff failed to meet the most basic standard of care and engaged in some troubling practices such as providing pediatric care over a long period of time by non-physicians without supervision," said Dr. Benard Dreyer, the former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician at New York University Langone Health. "If signs of persistent and severe illness are present in a young child, the standard of care is to seek emergency care. ICE staff did not seek emergency care for Mariee, nor did they arrange for intravenous antibiotics when Mariee was unable to keep oral antibiotics down. These are just a few of the alarming examples of how ICE medical staff failed to provide proper medical treatment to this little girl."

The notice of claim filed with the City of Eloy, Arizona is available here.

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