Pierce County WA has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit involving a mentally disturbed patient who escaped out of a window of a county-owned mental hospital in 2004 and hurt himself jumping onto a concrete fire-escape landing.
According to documents in the case, which was settled Dec. 23 in Pierce County Superior Court, Jeffery Fontinel had been involuntarily committed to the now-closed Puget Sound Hospital in Tacoma.
Fontinel, 27, was in a manic state, court documents say, and was being held in a “seclusion room” on the hospital’s fifth floor.
Attorneys representing Fontinel and his family alleged he was not adequately monitored by hospital staff members and that the room was not adequately secured.
Fontinel climbed out a window, walked along a narrow parapet, then jumped to the roof of a skybridge that allowed him to reach the roof of an adjacent building. He jumped 15 to 20 feet to the fire escape landing.
Fontinel suffered multiple fractures in the fall.
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