Dead Inmate’s Family Seeking $1M in Compensation From Kansas Prison

January 7, 2014

Relatives of a man who died at a Kansas prison while serving a life sentence for killing a woman are seeking $1 million in damages and threatening to file a lawsuit.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the family of Roger Hollister alleges in a demand letter that staff at the El Dorado Correctional Facility infirmary failed to adequately treat the 61-year-old before he died March 20. Hollister was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old Patricia Kimmi of rural Horton. She disappeared in November 2009, and her remains were found in May 2010.

The family’s attorney sent the letter through certified mail last month to the Kansas Department of Corrections, the Nemaha County Attorney’s Office, the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the prison’s former health care contractor, Correct Care Solutions LLC.

“Claimants are seeking $1,000,000 in damages,” according to the letter, which was sent on behalf of the estate of Roger Hollister, Hollister’s widow, Rebecca Hollister, of Topeka, and Jennifer M. Norman, the surviving daughter. “If this claim in the amount of $1,000,000 is not satisfied or denied within 30 days, a lawsuit will be filed that will make every claim allowed under the law.”

Corrections Department spokesman Jeremy Barclay, Nemaha County Attorney Brad Lippert and Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie said they were limited in what they could say because of the legal nature of the letter. Officials with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Correct Care Solutions couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The letter, which is based on 10 inmates’ sworn statements, states that on March 17, Hollister was having trouble breathing and trouble walking. He was admitted to the infirmary and kept overnight before being sent back to his unit in a wheelchair.

The letter states that Hollister was still in “a great deal of pain” on March 18 and 19. Hollister was found “in a crumple on the concrete floor of his cell adjacent to the toilet,” on March 19. He was taken to the clinic, where he was told there was nothing else that could be done for his pain and was returned to his unit “still having trouble breathing, still in pain, and still unable to walk,” the letter states.

Hollister again was taken to the clinic the morning he died and “personnel refuse to even see him at all,” the letter states. Inmates tried to let Department of Corrections staff members know what was happening. Later that day, Hollister was again wheeled to the clinic, where at first he was “again turned away.” An inmate who had assisted Hollister to the clinic refused to wheel Hollister back to the unit.

“A clinic staffer finally tilted Mr. Hollister’s head back, and freaked out,” the letter states. “Mr. Hollister had died in front of the three health care providers after he and other inmates had begged them all morning long for help.”

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.