San Diego County settles Elisa Serna jail death lawsuit for $15 million, and limited federal oversight

Weeks before it was scheduled to go before a federal jury, San Diego County has agreed to a strikingly expensive end to a long-running lawsuit that stemmed from a chilling jail death nearly five years ago.

The county and one of its private healthcare contractors will pay $15 million to the family of Elisa Serna, a 24-year-old pregnant woman who died in the Las Colinas jail after a sheriff’s deputy and medical worker watched her collapse in her cell and left her alone to die.

San Diego County taxpayers will bear the brunt of the monetary damages, absorbing $14 million of the agreed-upon amount. The Coast Correctional Medical Group, which provides medical professionals to treat people in jail, will pay $1 million.