Robert Bennett, Andrew Noel and Katie Bennett recently settled a federal civil rights action brought on behalf of the next of kin of Kyle Allan Baxter-Jensen, who committed suicide at the Stearns County Jail in December of 2010. Kyle was a mentally ill man who was incarcerated at the Stearns County Jail for driving while intoxicated on November 13, 2010. The following day, Kyle attempted suicide using a disassembled razor to slit his throat and both of his wrists. He was found alive by jail personnel and was taken to St. Cloud Hospital for treatment of his physical injuries. Kyle was returned to Stearns County Jail the same day. Upon his return and over the next few weeks, Kyle was clearly a significant suicide risk. He exhibited many red flags confirming he suffered from a significant and pervasive mental illness, in addition to the obvious and numerous staples, sutures and bandages over his recent self-inflicted wounds.
Nonetheless, Kyle did not receive the mental health treatment he required. Instead, he was prematurely moved to general housing where access to razors could not be effectively prohibited. Kyle obtained a razor on December 4, 2010 and used it to commit suicide by again slitting his own throat. MEnD Correctional Care and Defendant Todd Leonard, MD held the contract with Stearns County to provide medical and mental health care to inmates. The MEnD Defendants voluntarily paid $850,000 to settle this action and Stearns County paid $600,000.