Breaking News:


Prison contractor Wellcon Inc. hit with $2 million fine after inmate death

Jul 2, 2024, 4:47 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — After an inmate died at the Salt Lake County Jail in November 2013, a jury hit prison contractor Wellcon Inc. with a $2 million fine on Tuesday.

According to a complaint filed in Utah’s 3rd District Court, Jeremy Aus died after being booked into the Salt Lake County jail and denied necessary medication, leading to withdrawal effects and his death.

“Jeremy needlessly suffered from benzodiazepine withdrawal. The prescription wasn’t given simply because he was accused of a crime,” co-lead counsel Emily S. Madden said.

Aus was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Nov. 6, 2013, and “had been on a daily Clonazepam prescription for over ten years.”

According to the National Institute of Health, Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine variant used in treating acute panic and anxiety disorders, requiring a specific withdrawal process to be followed to prevent seizures and other side effects.

The filed complaint alleges that an employee of Wellcon knew about Aus’s use and dependence on Clonazepam but “abruptly and dangerously discontinued Aus’s prescription,” further stating that both the employee and Wellcon have discontinued medications similar to Clonazepam previously, also without tapering dosage.

On Nov. 8, 2013, Aus notified Wellcon through jail staff of his Clonazepam usage history, also noting that he needed to continue his prescription, according to the complaint. After Wellcon refused to refill his prescription, Aus then requested that Wellcon provide Clonazepam, complaining of anxiety, the document states.

Eight days later a Salt Lake County jail officer alerted medical staff to assess Aus who was suffering a possible seizure. Aus’s cellmate stated that he saw between four and six of Aus’s seizures. Later that night, at 10:05 p.m., Aus was declared dead after being found non-responsive, according to the complaint.

After a trial, a Jury found a Wellcon employee liable in Aus’s death, rewarding a $2 million settlement.

“We hope this verdict reminds correctional care providers of their obligations to provide appropriate care, even for the incarcerated,” Madden said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Follow @jellis9Like us on Facebook...

Josh Ellis

Two injured in rollover crash on I-15 in Box Elder County

Two people were seriously hurt after an SUV rolled off Interstate 15 in northern Utah early Tuesday morning.

5 minutes ago

Power companies are not immune from the pressures of inflation and for us, that means we must pay m...

Matt Gephardt

How to save when higher energy costs have a third of Americans paying their power bills on credit

Power companies are not immune from the pressures of inflation and for us, that means we must pay more to keep our homes livable in these sweltering summer days. And those rising energy costs also trickle down onto us in other ways, i.e. an uptick in the cost of groceries as stores also have to pay more to keep the building cool.

8 hours ago

A woman is dead and her parents in critical condition after temperatures crossed a deadly threshold...

Kiersten Nunez

Young woman dies, parents critical after deadly hike in Snow Canyon

A deadly weekend for hikers in Utah has left three people dead in less than 48 hours, including a father and daughter in Canyonlands.

9 hours ago

Community members gathered on Monday to memorialize the teen killed in a West Valley shooting. (KSL...

Debbie Worthen

Community mourns loss of Judge Memorial athlete following West Valley shooting

Friends and family of a Judge Memorial high school student are mourning the loss of the 17-year-old after he was shot and killed this weekend.

9 hours ago

Department of Public Safety says the threats against state leaders is on the increase. (KSL TV)...

Darby Sparks

As Utah political threats rise, security measures becoming tighter, says DPS

The Department of Public Safety says threats in 2024 have already been high. Given the attempted assassination of a former president over the weekend, they say security measures could become even more rigid for political events locally.

10 hours ago

Judge's gavel...

Mark Jones

Utah man sentenced in smartphone scheme that defrauded investors out of $10 million

A 60-year-old Utah man was sentenced in federal court on Monday to 29 months in jail after he admitted to defrauding hundreds of investors out of $10 million in his smartphone company — SAYGUS.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Prison contractor Wellcon Inc. hit with $2 million fine after inmate death