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May 7, 2021

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Family sues state Corrections for $10M over cancer death

Prisoner died in 2019 after not receiving chemotherapy

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SEATTLE — Kenny Williams died at Monroe Correctional Complex two years ago after having cancer that went untreated despite his repeated pleas to the state Department of Corrections.

His case has been cited by a state watchdog report as an egregious example of Corrections’ repeated failures to provide lifesaving health care for people who are incarcerated in state prisons, The Seattle Times reported.

Now, Williams’ family is suing the department in King County Superior Court, alleging that “systemic negligence” led to his suffering and death. The suit seeks $10 million in damages.

“If we don’t accomplish anything else, we’re hoping no one else has to go through this pain and suffering,” Dee Johnson, Williams’ widow, told the newspaper.

A Corrections spokesperson said the agency does not comment on pending litigation, but said the department has made systemwide health-care policy and training changes since Williams’ death.

Williams, 63, died in June 2019 of breast cancer that had metastasized into his bones after Corrections failed to provide chemotherapy that could have saved him.

His lack of treatment was documented in a scathing 2019 report by the Office of the Corrections Ombuds, which investigates complaints by incarcerated people and their families.

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