Family of Stephanie Warriner Files $16 Million Lawsuit Against Hospital Guards Over Alleged ‘Reckless’ Violence | TBEN news

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The family of Stephanie Warriner, who died after being held on the chest by guards at a Toronto hospital in May 2020, has filed a $16 million lawsuit against the hospital network and the guards involved, claiming her death was the direct due to the guards’ actions that day, calling their actions “reckless” and the force used “excessive.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, names the two security guards previously charged in Warriner’s death, Amanda Rojas-Silva and Shane Hutley, along with University Health Network.

Also mentioned are the guard’s shift chief, the guard who handcuffed 43-year-old Warriner while she was held on the floor and a guard who filmed the incident but later admitted to deliberately removing the security camera and claimed to have panicked. have been hit.

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It also alleges that the hospital failed to notify the family for 11 days after the incident, leaving them in the dark about what had happened until days before Warriner’s death.

News of the lawsuit came days after TBEN News reported that charges against the two security guards on trial in Warriner’s death were abruptly dropped after a judge ruled in November that there was not enough evidence in the case.

It also comes after TBEN News obtained court approval to publish video of the incident, in which a camera was purposely turned away, failing to capture the final moments before Warriner was driven off unconscious.

LOOK | She died after guards restrained her. These are the images a jury will not see:

She died after guards restrained her. These are the images a jury doesn’t see.

WARNING: Video contains graphic images. TBEN News sought court approval to release video of the altercation between Warriner and guards at Toronto General Hospital in May 2020. Warriner was believed to have COVID-19 and had her mask off. Video shows guards confronting her. Less than three minutes later, she’s driven away unconscious — never to wake up again.

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The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are responsible for a range of offenses including: assault and battery, negligence and conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code by allegedly discriminating against Warriner because of her mental health condition and history of addiction.

“Stephanie’s death has had a profound impact on her family,” the lawsuit says, particularly on her sister, Denise, and children.

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One of those children, Daisy Warriner, who was recovering from drug use, went into a “downward spiral” after her mother’s death, the lawsuit says, and turned to drugs to ease her pain. She eventually died of an overdose a year and a half after her mother’s death at age 24, the suit says.

For eleven days, Danielle Stephanie Warriner lay alone in a hospital bed, her family having no idea where she was, no idea she'd been stopped by guards, and no idea she'd never regain consciousness.
For eleven days, Danielle Stephanie Warriner lay alone in a hospital bed, her family having no idea where she was, no idea she had been stopped by guards and no idea she would never regain consciousness, the suit says. (Submitted by Denise Warriner)

UHN declined to comment, but guards’ attorneys reached out

In a statement to TBEN News, University Health Network spokesperson Gillian Howard said the organization “does not comment on matters in court.” TBEN News has reached out to lawyers for Rojas-Silva and Hutley for comment. This story will be updated when a response is received.

While the lawsuit was officially filed in September 2022, the lawyer for Warriner’s sister, Denise, says the defendants have only recently been served. No one has filed a defense yet, but all have filed notices of their intent to challenge it, said Asha James of Falconers LLP.

The allegations in the family’s lawsuit have not been tested in court.

Warriner, a mother of five, stood five feet tall and weighed 120 pounds, “small but mighty” and “dearly loved,” according to her sister. She also struggled with bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and in the months leading up to her death, she lived in a shelter following a breakup.

On May 10, Warriner, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, arrived at Toronto General Hospital coughing and short of breath. It was early in the COVID-19 pandemic and Warriner was presumably treated as COVID positive, although she was later found to test negative for the virus.

The next day, Warriner left the COVID floor to get something to eat, according to a coroner’s report, and was spotted by hospital staff in the lobby with her mask around her neck.

‘No legal authority’ to imprison Warriner, suit says

Surveillance video showed Warriner sitting in a light blue medical gown before guards approached.

“Despite knowing Stephanie had mental health issues based on their interactions with her, Stephanie was berated by the guards, thrown to the floor and held in a prone position with weight on her back,” the suit says.

“While held in a prone position, Stephanie was forced to put on handcuffs.”

The lawsuit states that the force used on Warriner was “excessive, unreasonable and unjustifiable” under the law. The guards, who owed Warriner a “duty of care,” instead restrained and handcuffed her without “legal authority” to do so, it adds.

Toronto General Hospital is pictured in this file photo. On May 10, 2020, Warriner arrived at the hospital with a cough and shortness of breath. (David Donnelly/TBEN)

Nor did Toronto General Hospital have any legal authority to confine Warriner to a room, bed or wing of the hospital, even if she was believed to be COVID-positive, the lawsuit says.

In court documents filed as part of their now-overturned criminal suit, attorneys for Rojas-Silva and Hutley argued that the two used only the force necessary to subdue Warriner.

In the moments following the incident, a video obtained by TBEN News shows Warriner’s limp body wheeled away to an elevator room, where the court previously heard Rojas-Silva realize she needed CPR. Warriner was revived, but would never regain consciousness.

As for the guard who removed the camera, the court heard he did so because he suffered from anxiety and panicked when he saw the altercation. The lawsuit alleges that the camera was in fact moved “to protect the other defendant guards from potential criminal liability.”

‘tears me apart’

Eleven days after the incident, as Warriner lay alone in a hospital bed, the suit claims that her family had no idea where she was, that she had been restrained by guards, and that she would never regain consciousness. That’s despite her sister, Denise, being designated as her deputy decision maker, the lawsuit says.

With her family left in the dark, not only did Warriner have no one to consent to her treatment during the hours and days she lay unconscious, it also meant a painful realization for her sister and children when they finally learned what had happened.

Five days after the hospital finally made contact, Warriner died at Toronto Western Hospital, where she had been transferred.

“I had no opportunity to interact with her, I had no opportunity to support her,” Denise previously told TBEN News.

“Whether it helped her or not, she didn’t have anyone there… It’s absolutely tearing me apart.”