Family sues Manitoba government over death in Winnipeg Remand Centre

Wife pleads for justice at hearing into Errol Greene's death at Winnipeg Remand Centre

The family of Errol Greene — the man who died in the Winnipeg Remand Centre last May — is suing the government of Manitoba, alleging it is responsible for failing to provide him with the necessities of life and causing his death.

Greene's common-law wife Rochelle Pranteau is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for herself and their four children for Greene's death, which was allegedly caused after the 26-year-old epileptic was denied his seizure medication at the remand centre for three days.

"The actions and/or neglects of the Remand staff ... were an operative and material cause of [Greene's] death," reads the statement of claim filed in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench on Feb. 10.

An inquest into Greene's death was called by the province's chief medical examiner in December. 

An autopsy report obtained by CBC News, dated Oct. 13, pointed to concerns around how Greene's seizure was handled by corrections officers, and said he was not administered his seizure-controlling medication while in custody at the remand centre.

A statement of defence has not been filed by the government. A spokesperson for Manitoba Justice said the department is currently reviewing the statement of claim to determine Manitoba's position.

"Since this is an ongoing court matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further," said the spokesperson in a prepared statement.

Seizure medication denied

Greene was placed in the remand centre on April 29 for breaching a probation order not to consume alcohol. He was under the probation order for a mischief under $5,000 charge.

According to the claim and previous statements made by Pranteau to CBC News, Greene repeatedly asked for his seizure medication, which he required three times a day to prevent a seizure from occurring.

He allegedly asked for the medication nine times before he made a phone call to Pranteau, voicing his concern that he was on the verge of a seizure, before collapsing mid-sentence.

When staff responded to several calls for help from other inmates, instead of providing medical attention, they allegedly shackled Greene and forcibly placed his face to the ground.

He suffered a second seizure while shackled and restrained, the claim states.

Greene was transported to Health Sciences Centre and was later pronounced dead.

Pranteau previously told CBC News she received a call from the chief medical examiner's office in December, saying the details around her husband's death were suspicious and an inquest could prevent the same thing from happening in the future, she said.

The family is seeking an unspecified amount for the loss of "guidance, care and companionship" due to Greene's death. Since the government of Manitoba is the owner and operator of the remand centre, it is named as the defendant in the suit. 

The suit also seeks all medical and funeral costs related to the death.

"As a further result of the death of Bradley, the plaintiffs have suffered damages and will continue to suffer damages in the future," reads the claim. "Full particulars of which will be provided at or prior to the trial of the within action."

The claim also alleges that Greene has previously been held in custody in the remand centre, suffered a seizure and had to be hospitalized — meaning the staff "ought to have been aware" of Greene's condition.

Greene's death is one of five that occurred in the remand centre in 2016, a sharp increase from previous years where only two deaths occurred between 2010 and 2015. The remand centre houses roughly 300 people.