FAMILY OF DEAD INMATE CAN PURSUE LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OF LIFE CLAIM

The family of a Passaic County man who hanged himself in jail, and then died after going into a coma, has been told that they can pursue a damages claim for loss of life enjoyment. The man had been jailed for threatening his mother with a knife, and for subsequently violating his probation. After being put on suicide watch, he was put back out into the general prison population. A few days later he attempted suicide. He was in a coma for about seven hours, after which time he died.

The State argued that the man’s suicide was evidence that he wasn’t enjoying life, and that therefore his family shouldn’t be awarded any damages on their loss of enjoyment claim. The judge disagreed, stating that it was still possible that the man might have enjoyed life in some respects, despite his suicide.

The State also overlooked the fact that, with medical and psychological treatment, even a suicidal person can overcome his emotional problems and lead a satisfying life.