DETROIT (WXYZ) — A $100 million civil rights lawsuit has been filed against a Kalamazoo youth home after a 16-year-old boy was restrained and later died earlier this year.
Attorneys Geoffrey Fieger and Jon Marko filed the lawsuit against Lakeside Academy and Sequel Youth and Family Services.
Tenia Goshay is the personal representative for the estate of Cornelius Fredricks, who died May 1 after being restrained by staff at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. Marko Law, PLLC, a Michigan-based civil rights law firm, is representing the case.
Police say the teen was restrained on April 29 after throwing a sandwich. During the incident, the teen, who is a Detroit native, lost consciousness and later died at the hospital.
In video of the incident obtained by Fredrick's attorneys, it allegedly shows a staff member at Lakeside placing their weight directly on the teen's chest for nearly 10 minutes until he lost consciousness, according to a release from Frederick's attorneys.
"Under normal circumstances, someone should be able to be restrained and not be dead," said Attorney Jon Marko, who is representing the teen's family in a lawsuit.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the start of the legal process to revoke the license of Lakeside for Children. MDHHS has also already terminated its contract with the facility, which was tasked to care for youth in the state's foster care and juvenile justice system.
A statement from Sequel Youth & Family Services said that the company cannot comment on pending legal matters. Ready the full statement below.
We cannot comment on pending legal matters. That said, we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Cornelius and acted quickly to terminate all staff involved. Additionally, we have removed the former executive director of Lakeside from the organization. We have been in regular contact with law enforcement and state officials to help ensure justice is served and have accelerated the work that was already underway across our organization to move to a restraint-free model of care. We take our obligation to meet the significant behavioral health needs of all our students incredibly seriously and remain focused on our mission of providing the absolute best care and treatment possible for our clients.