OAG: Government not liable for inmate’s death

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Justin Meno's sister Brianna Meno is going after the government hoping for justice and a judgment for punitive damages, loss of future earnings and pain and suffering as a result of her brother's death. (PNC photo)

Guam – An attempt to hold the Government of Guam accountable for the death of DOC inmate Justin Meno may be dismissed if the District Court of Guam sides with the Department of Corrections.

Justin Meno’s sister Brianna Meno is going after the government hoping for justice and a judgment for punitive damages, loss of future earnings and pain and suffering as a result of her brother’s death.

Justin Meno was severely beaten while incarcerated at DOC’s maximum security unit. The beating sent Justin Meno to the hospital where he later died from a tumor in his throat according to former Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola.

But Justin Meno’s sister alleges that her brother’s death was a result of the beating and that DOC failed to enact appropriate procedures, failed to properly train and supervise its personnel and did not ensure that her brother received medical treatment in a timely manner.

The complaint cites 5 violations, namely; the eighth amendment on cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of due process of law, a violation of the 14th amendment, survivorship, and wrongful death.

The Office of the Attorney General, however, is requesting that the case be dismissed arguing that GovGuam and DOC is not liable for damages.

The OAG said DOC cannot be sued in its own name and the complaint allegedly fails to state cause of action. “The only damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case are limited to loss of earnings and expenses incurred as a result of the injury by the deceased prior to his death,” the OAG said.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.