Jury awards $975K to woman with mental illness who gave birth alone in jail cell

A federal jury awarded a nearly $1 million judgment to a woman with severe mental illness who was experiencing a psychotic episode when she gave birth alone in a King County Jail cell.

 

The jury found the jail and several of its employees liable of medical malpractice and multiple civil rights violations.

Imka Pope was 27 when she gave birth alone, terrified and in terrible pain in November 1997 after being arrested while sleeping at a bus stop. She told two correctional officers that she was in labor and needed help, but no one came to her aid until a guard heard the baby crying.

Read news coverage about the case

[Chris and Sean] took a chance on a case that most lawyers would have turned down. Every step of the way, they fought for their client with exceptional compassion, professionalism and an unflinching commitment to justice.

— Jim Lonsenz, civil rights attorney