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Achman v. State

Supreme Court of Alaska

May 9, 2014

MARJORIE ACHMAN, on behalf of CHARLES T. KEMP III, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee

Page 1124

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Michael A. MacDonald, Judge. Superior Court No. 4FA-10-01463 CI.

Jason A. Weiner, Gazewood & Weiner, P.C., Fairbanks, for Appellant.

Susan M. West, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 1125

MAASSEN, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Charles Kemp attempted suicide while in administrative segregation at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. He survived but suffered a serious brain injury. His mother, Marjorie Achman, sued the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC), alleging both a negligent failure to protect Kemp from self-harm and medical malpractice. The superior court granted summary judgment to DOC and awarded attorney's fees to DOC as the prevailing party. Achman appeals; we affirm.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

A. Facts

Charles Kemp was arrested for vehicle theft on January 13, 2008, and jailed at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. He initially gave a false name, but DOC soon identified him through his fingerprints and discovered that he was in violation of conditions of his parole. He was retained at the jail.

On March 11 or 12, Kemp was sent to administrative segregation for fighting with another inmate. On March 29, while still in segregation, he attempted suicide. Corrections officers found him unconscious in his cell. They performed CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived and transported him to Alaska Regional Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an anoxic brain injury.

Kemp remained in the hospital until April 15, when he was discharged and returned to the medical segregation unit at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. DOC Medical Director Dr. Rebecca Bingham discussed Kemp's case with his treating physician, then authorized further evaluations and therapy. DOC also assigned Kemp a 24-hour caregiver.

On May 2, Kemp was returned to the general population, though he continued to have the assistance of the 24-hour caregiver. On May 8 he was returned to administrative segregation after he stuck his finger in another inmate's food and acted aggressively. He claimed not to remember these events when interviewed the next day by a mental

Page 1126

health clinician; the clinician recommended that Kemp be moved to the mental health unit, and he was.

Kemp was released from DOC custody on bail on May 16, 2008. He now lives with his mother and stepfather in White Plains, Missouri. Because of his ...


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