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This jailhouse eye injury just cost Sacramento County $650,000, lawyer says

Ramin Shekarlab says he lost vision in his right eye after authorities at the Sacramento County Jail delayed providing surgery.
Ramin Shekarlab says he lost vision in his right eye after authorities at the Sacramento County Jail delayed providing surgery. Stewart Katz law office

Sacramento County has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a federal lawsuit by a former jail inmate who says he injured his eye while in custody and was left without treatment for months, leading to partial loss of vision, his attorney says.

Ramin Shekarlab, who was jailed in April 2016 on a reckless driving charge, said in a lawsuit filed by Sacramento attorney Stewart Katz that he suffered from seizures but was unable to get jail officials to provide prescription medicine to him to help with the ailment.

Within a month of being in custody, Shekarlab fell and injured his right eye, the lawsuit says, leading him to seek an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

Instead, he did not see an ophthalmologist until January 2017, when the doctor prescribed a surgical consult within one to three weeks, his suit says.

Shekarlab was not able to seek surgery until after he was released from jail in May 2017 – more than a year after the injury – and was told the eye injury could no longer be repaired by surgery, according to the lawsuit, which alleged that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department had a “de facto policy of deferring medically necessary procedures when they believe that the patient is going to be released” to save the county money.

The suit was settled for $650,000 and dismissed last Friday, Katz said. The sheriff’s office did not have an immediate comment on the settlement Tuesday.

Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.
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