Castaneda v. United States
This is a wrongful death and survival action against multiple defendants, including the United States, for causing the penile amputation and death of former federal immigration detainee Francisco Castaneda. The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Castaneda died as a result of medical negligence, health care policies that failed to meet correctional industry standards, and intentional disregard of Mr. Castaneda’s serious medical needs. In addition to the United States, the suit names several federal officials and employees, two California state employees, and one private physician from California.
The constitutional claims asserted against federal Public Health Service officials were ultimately dismissed after the U.S. Supreme Court held that the officials were immune from suit under the Public Health Service Act and that the plaintiffs had a remedy against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Later, the United States paid $1.95 million to the daughter and Estate of Francisco Castaneda to settle their claims against the federal government and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official. The settlement brought an end to a four-year pursuit of justice from the U.S. government.
The only remaining claims in the case concern the grossly inadequate medical care that Mr. Castaneda received while in California’s custody, just before he was transferred to immigration detention. Now that the appeal in Castaneda v. State of California is resolved, the Castaneda family will proceed with their claims against two State of California medical providers.
Lead cooperating counsel is Conal Doyle of Willoughby Doyle, L.L.P. in Los Angeles. Public Justice Managing Attorney Adele Kimmel is co-lead counsel.