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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Teteak Family Sues County For Wrongful Death While In Jail

Issue Date: May 24, 2018

The family of former Pound resident, the late David L. Teteak filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin's Eastern District Federal Court in Green Bay against Marinette County Sheriff's Department and others on Friday, April 27. The suit alleges Teteak suffered wrongful death and violation of his rights under the 8th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution while a prisoner of Marinette County Sheriff's Department.

Teteak, 44, died on May 11, 2016 at Aurora Bay Care Medical Center after being transported there by ambulance from Marinette County Jail.

The suit states that, while a prisoner in the jail, Teteak had been denied medications that had been prescribed for him, including Clonazepam and Zonisamide, and as a result he "suffered withdrawal, panic disorders, severe anxiety and stress, seizures and ultimately death."

The suit was filed by his mother, Nancy Teteak, of W1029 W. 4th Road, Pound, as personal representative of the estate, and his son, Derick Teteak, of W10931 W. 4th Road, Pound. They seek damages to be set at a jury trial, along with reasonable reimbursement for legal fees, funeral costs, and other expenses. Derick Teteak, now an adult, was a student at Coleman High School at the time of his father's death. They are being represented by the law firm of Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C. The demand for trial by jury, dated April 27, was signed by Atty. George Burnett.

Specifically named as defendants being sued in both individual and official capacities are Marinette County; Marinette County Sheriff Jerome T. Sauve; Chief Deputy James M. Hansen; Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. and its employee, LPN Lisa J. Swanson; and correctional deputies Don Behrendt, Casey Behnke, Brian Wruk, Nielsen, Brent Hill, Robert Majewski, and Michael Chapman.

Included in the suit but not specifically identified are the insurance companies that cover the various defendants, other individuals who may have treated Teteak, and the paramedic/ambulance service used to transport him first to Bay Area Medical Center and then to Aurora Hospital in Green Bay.

Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. is contracted by Marinette County "to provide physical and mental health treatment of inmates at the Marinette County Jail."

According to the suit, on April 3, 2016, Teteak was driving his vehicle westbound on Hwy. 64 and was the victim of a road rage incident at the hands of another motorist. Teteak suffered several head and facial fractures and injuries as a result of the incident and reported it to the Marinette County Sheriff's Department.

The suit charges that the sheriff's department failed to do an adequate investigation of the incident and instead referred the matter to the district attorney's office for prosecution of Teteak, who was on probation at the time.

The suit goes on to state that "due to the incident of April 3, and as a result of inadequate investigation done by the Marinette County Sheriff's department, Teteak's probation was revoked." He was taken into custody and placed in the Marinette County Jail on April 13, 2016.

The complaint goes on to state that Teteak suffered from disorders and had specific medications prescribed to him that he needed to continue taking to treat his conditions, and on April 13, the day that he was picked up, the prescription medications he was currently taking were dropped off at the jail so he could continue taking them.

The suit states that employees of Marinette County and Advanced Correctional Healthcare were charged with providing physical and mental health care to David L. Teteak, including providing him his prescription medications, but failed to do so.

According to the complaint, on May 2, 2016, Teteak was transported to Bay Area Medical Center as a result of being extremely anxious in his holding cell to the point that his breathing was irregular and he was shaking. Medical personnel at Bay Area Medical Center diagnosed his symptoms relating to running out of benzodiazepine medication and withdrawal while in jail and having an anxiety reaction.

The complaint goes on to state that on May 3, Teteak was transported back to the Marinette County Jail. On May 6, 2016, between 9 and 9:30 a.m., the sheriff's department observed him laying on the floor with blood all over his cell and on his elbows, arms, clothes, and bunk. He had been striking his elbows within his cell, causing them to bleed profusely, was stating he wanted to kill himself, was sweating profusely and was not making sense. "Upon information and belief, Teteak stated on May 6, 2016, that corrections officers were trying to kill him and would not give him his medications," the complaint continues.

Swanson was notified of Teteak's dire condition but indicated it was not an emergency, denied he was going into shock, and did nothing meaningful to treat his deteriorating condition, the complaint says.

Defendants Wruk, Hill, and Behrendt wiped blood off of Teteak, cut off his clothes, put him in a suicide smock, and moved him to another cell, which later in the complaint was identified as a "safety cell."

Later on May 6, between 3 and 4 p.m., Swanson and deputies of the Marinette County Sheriff's Department, including Majewski, Chapman, Wruk, Behrendt, and Nielsen, observed that Teteak was continuing to bleed from both elbows. He was refusing commands and was now shaking. A rescue squad was paged, and arrived at approximately 4:06 p.m.

Teteak refused to get on the gurney and became agitated. He was put to the ground by deputies of the sheriff's department. One or more employees of the paramedic company administered midazolam into each thigh of Teteak once he was on the ground.

According to the complaint, "... upon the midazolam being injected, David L. Teteak went limp, stopped breathing, began to turn gray, and his heart stopped beating. He lost consciousness and never regained it. He died as a consequence of his treatment by all Defendants.

It goes on, "... upon information and belief, before administering the midazolam, (the unidentified attendant) stated that this administration could "code him.'"

The suit states the paramedic company and its employees were also negligent in their care and treatment of David L. Teteak, resulting in damages to Plaintiffs.

The paramedic employee and deputies of the sheriff's department attempted to resuscitate Teteak. He was transported to Bay Area Medical Center at approximately 5 p.m.

The complaint states that on May 7, 2016, employees of Marinette County, including Behrendt, refused to initially provide information to Nancy Teteak on the whereabouts of David L. Teteak. After much persistence, Nancy Teteak was eventually only told that David L. Teteak had been hospitalized but falsely informed that "he was fine."

On May 9, 2016, Kent Hoffman, Assistant District Attorney for Marinette County, indicated he was not going to charge David L. Teteak from the April 3, 2016, road rage incident.

Teteak was 44 years old on May 11, 2016, the day of his death.

The plaintiffs allege on information and belief that Mr. Teteak was not provided prescription medications, including but not limited to Clonazepam and Zonisamide, while incarcerated at the Marinette County Jail, and as a result, he suffered withdrawal, panic disorders, severe anxiety and stress, seizures and ultimately death.

The complaint goes on to say responsibility for providing prescription medications, medical and mental health treatment was that of Defendants Marinette County, Sauve, Hansen, Behrendt, Behnke, Wruk, Nielsen, Hill, Majewski, Chapman, John Doe, Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Lisa Swanson, and Harry Doe, and that the County and Advanced Correctional Healthcare failed to have adequate policies and procedures in place for medical and mental health treatment of inmates, including providing prescription medications, especially medications that created a risk of injury or death upon withdrawal.

The plaintiffs allege that all Defendants associated with Marinette County and Advanced Correctional Healthcare unreasonably withheld necessary prescribed medication from Mr. Teteak during his incarceration at the Marinette County Jail and failure to properly respond to medical issues on May 6, 2016, subsequently contributed to his death.

"Defendants failed to provide Mr. Teteak with appropriate medical care during his incarceration in the Marinette County Jail. Defendants violated Mr. Teteak's constitutionally protected rights by engaging in various acts including but not limited to:

"a. Failing to provide Mr. Teteak with prescription medications including, but not limited to, Clonazepam and Zonisamide as he was prescribed;

"b. Failing to properly taper off Mr. Teteak's prescription medications including, but not limited to, Clonazepam and Zonisamide as recommended by medical doctors;

"c. Restraining Mr. Teteak in the safety cell despite his physical injuries; and

"d. Failing to adequately treat Mr. Teteak while in custody of the Marinette County Sheriff's Department".

The complaint says after being moved to the safety cell due to the injuries to his elbows early in the day on May 6, 2016, he subsequently required additional medical attention in the safety cell as a result of his injuries.

"In responding to Mr. Teteak's injuries, Defendants violated Mr. Teteak's constitutionally protected rights by engaging in various acts including but not limited to:

"a. The use of excessive and unreasonable force, including but not limited to exerting pressure on Mr. Teteak to hold him against the floor;

"b. The unreasonably prolonged use of force on Mr. Teteak while he was restrained face-down on the floor;

"c. The unreasonable failure to stop engaging in dangerous and high-risk restraint techniques when Mr. Teteak began to stop breathing because the force used by Defendants was causing him to asphyxiate; and

"d. The unreasonable injection of a sedative into Mr. Teteak while Mr. Teteak was restrained face-down on the floor," and concludes that:

"As a result of the wrongful acts of all Defendants, Plaintiff Derick Teteak was deprived of his constitutional right to family relationship and the society and companionship of his father.

"As a result of the wrongful acts of all Defendants, the Estate of David Teteak claims as damages the loss of his right to life and of the physical injuries, pain, emotional anguish, and trauma he suffered prior to his death and for funeral expenses.

"Each individual Defendant acted recklessly or with deliberate and callous indifference to Mr. Teteak's mental and physical condition and constitutional rights.

"By virtue of 42 U.S.C. 1988 Plaintiffs are entitled to and demand an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs according to proof.

" Mr. Teteak was subject to the deprivation of rights by Defendants, acting or pretending to act under color of law and of statutes, or ordinances, regulations, customs and usages of the law of the United States, and State of Wisconsin which rights include, but are not limited to, privileges and immunities secured to Mr. Teteak by the Constitution and laws of the United States. By reason of the acts specified herein, Defendants violated the constitutional rights and liberty interests of Mr. Teteak, including those provided in the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial and are seeking compensatory, general and special damages against each Defendant, jointly and severally, in the amount proven at trial; for costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, and for such other relief, including injunctive and/or declaratory relief, as the Court may deem proper."

The last record found for David Teteak on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Case reporting system was a felony conviction due to a guilty plea involving theft of less than $10,000 on April 4, 2011. Charges of driving or operating a vehicle without the owner's consent and burglary of a building or dwelling were dismissed but read into the records. All three charges stemmed from an incident or incidents on July 19, 2010.

A prison sentence of four years was imposed by Marinette County Judge Tim Duket, on June 6, 2011, but suspended, and he was sentenced instead to one year in jail and five years of probation. Records show he paid restitution, costs and fees. As conditions of probation, he was ordered to find and maintain employment, and to get counseling assessment and follow through with recommended treatment, including mental health treatment.


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