Detainee files complaint alleging lack of adequate medical care

An undocumented man with Parkinson’s disease has filed suit against a Willacy County ICE detention center and the private, for-profit prison contractor that manages the facility for failing to provide him with adequate access to medical care.

Juan Carlos Lara-Arguelles filed the lawsuit in federal court in Brownsville earlier this month via correspondence from the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in Raymondville.

The complaint charges the facility, alongside Management and Training Corporation, with violating Lara-Arguelles’ federal constitutional rights by denying him access to quality healthcare throughout his incarceration.

According to court records, Lara-Arguelles entered the United States near Hidalgo on Aug. 5, 2019. He was encountered by Border Patrol agents in the Mission area and was taken into custody.

The man was previously deported from the United States via Del Rio on Sept. 10, 2015 after serving a 48-month sentence for illegal re-entry that began on Nov. 2, 2012.

Lara-Arguelles wrote that he has been denied treatment by a medical specialist for both Parkinson’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

He said that he has notified medical staff about his conditions but has not been provided the correct medication or referrals to neurology and arthritis specialists.

“Due to medical negligence, my Parkinson’s has worsened to the point where I cannot walk, move, or control my movements, not even my hygiene needs,” he wrote, noting that his fingers and toes appear deformed.

Lara-Arguelles is representing himself. The complaint requested $5 million in damages stemming from physical, moral, psychological, mental, and emotional suffering endured by both Lara-Arguelles and his family.

The complaint also requested the man’s immediate release from confinement so that he can seek treatment for his worsening conditions.

According to the document, medical staff allegedly told Lara-Arguelles that the U.S. Marshals refused to send him to the requested specialists despite the severity of his condition.

“The general doctor who treats the facility’s general population told me that I might die if I don’t get the correct treatment on time,” he wrote.

“He also stated that only generic medications could be prescribed until I die or get out of prison.”

In the complaint, Lara-Arguelles stated that he suffers from intense joint pain and severe stiffness and has difficulty bathing, writing, and talking on the phone.

He wrote that the Parkinson’s medication Carbidopa/Levodopa is the only treatment that controls his condition, but that he has not received a prescription from the general doctor.

The man clarified that he is unaware if officials took action on multiple grievances he filed in relation to his conditions, adding that he has been retaliated against by facility staff.

One page of the document stated that the detention facility allegedly told him, “Nothing can be done with respect to the medical staff.”

“My personal records of grievances and sick calls were taken away from me by the U.S. Marshal and correctional officers when I was going to show them to the judge who sentenced me — U.S. District Judge Randy Crane. I notified the judge of the action that day,” he wrote.

Warden Jose F. Luna, Deputy Warden Rolando Trevino, a U.S. Marshal, a sergeant, and the facility’s medical director were listed as recipients of the grievances.

Attorneys for the facility have not filed response to the complaint.

ICE officials did not respond to messages seeking comment.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com