Jury awards $590,600 to ex-inmate who had TB

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ST. PAUL — A jury has awarded $590,600 to a former Ramsey County inmate who became gravely ill with tuberculosis in custody.

A federal jury determined Monday that public health nurse Mary Clausen was “deliberately indifferent” to the plight of Marchello McCaster, who lost 44 pounds while serving a 56-day sentence in 2008.

McCaster was coughing and visibly ill, but the county contended he never complained of symptoms indicating TB.

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His attorney, Robert Bennett, said the award is half for compensation and half for punitive damages. He said the county will cover it because the nurse was a county employee. Ramsey County settled an earlier lawsuit by inmates exposed to McCaster’s TB for about $16 million.