Orange County Inmate’s Death Prompts Federal Lawsuit

The family of an Orange County Jail inmate who died in custody has filed a federal lawsuit alleging neglect on the part of jail officials.

Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Shawn Gordon died in September of 2013 after being arrested and booked on multiple drug charges. According to the lawsuit, Gordon admitted to jail officials that he was using 3 grams of heroin per day and repeatedly reported feeling ill. Despite showing signs of severe withdrawal, however, he was not given so much as a blood test to monitor his condition. In fact, the lawsuit claims that Gordon called a friend on the day he died to warn them of his impending fate.

“I’m sick,” Gordon allegedly told the friend. “You need to get me out of here or I am going to die.”

The $15 million lawsuit, filed on July 9, names Orange County Sheriff Deputy Sandra Hutchens, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Orange County Central Men’s Jail, and the Orange County Health Care Agency. 

“(Gordon) was in an obvious state of a serious medical condition necessitating prompt medical care and treatment,” the suit says, calling his death “easily avoidable.”

The lawsuit also cites the deaths of other Orange County inmates which occurred under similar circumstances.

“There’s a pattern here,” said attorneys for Gordon’s family. 

The Orange County District Attorney’s office is currently investigating Gordon’s death.

Read more about the lawsuit here.