McLaughlin SLO County Jail death case not over yet

October 30, 2019


San Luis Obispo County Counsel Rita Neal is claiming the family of a 60-year-old man who died at the county jail accepted a nearly $42,000 settlement, while the family’s attorney is saying no such settlement occurred.

Amid allegations of neglect at the county jail, in 2017 Kevin Lee McLaughlin died of a heart attack. He told his jailers he needed to go to the hospital, but his request was denied. Less than an hour later he was found dead.

Dorothy McLaughlin, the decedent’s 85-year-old mother, filed a lawsuit against San Luis Obispo County in 2018, alleging negligence that resulted in death.

Recently, the county offered to settle the lawsuit for $41,850, and Dorothy McLaughlin, wanting to avoid the stress of a trial, accepted the offer subject to approval by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, according to the settlement agreement.

However, on Oct. 22, before the supervisors voted on the proposed settlement, Dorothy McLaughlin’s attorney James McKiernan withdrew his client’s acceptance.

“Dorothy McLaughlin will continue on with this grueling court process to see that justice is served for her dead son and others in the county jail whose serious medical complaints are disregarded by jail medical personnel,” McKiernan said.

County Counsel Rita Neal

Following the Oct. 22 closed session, in which the settlement agreement was on the agenda, County Counsel Rita Neal said there had been no reportable action. However, later in the day, Neal retracted her earlier statement and said that during closed session the supervisors had voted to approve the settlement offer.

McKiernan, however, said he sent an email prior to the alleged vote rejecting the settlement offer.

“The county’s offer to settle the McLaughlin case was rejected by the plaintiffs before it was finally approved by the Board of Supervisors,” McKiernan said. “The McLaughlin jail death case has not been settled and will proceed to trial.”

McKiernan plans to produce state and federal reports of deficiencies in inmate medical care “in violation of both state and federal law,” McKiernan said.

At around 2:30 a.m. on April 15, 2017, McLaughlin complained of pain in his left shoulder, including numbness and tingling, and that it felt like an “elephant was sitting on his chest,” according to the coroner’s report.

“Dorothy McLaughlin’s son complained to jail staff of multiple classic heart attack symptoms (which are noted in his jail medical records) that otherwise would have required him to be rushed to an emergency room code red. But his jailers gave him an aspirin, sent him back to his jail cell where he died 30 minutes later,” McKiernan said.


What do you bet Rita Neal knew the family had withdrawn their approval? Rita Neal has no ethics or integrity, her goal is to hide wrongdoing at all cost and cover for corrupt public officials. If she pushed the letter of the law on behalf of the public, who pay her salary, we would have a much better county.


Wow. I didn’t know that Kevin had passed away until seeing this article this morning, nor did I know that he passed in the CJ.

I grew up with the McLaughlin kids. They lived up the street and around the corner from our home. Kevin, Kenny, and Keith. Dorothy and her husband Ken owned and operated Kens bicycle shop in the 70’s-80’s on Monterey St.

The McLaughlin’s were a great family. Unreal news about Kevin. RIP Kevin……. God bless you Dorothy and Keith. [Kenny passed away a few years ago].


Is this the same Rita Neal who advised that the Cheri Aspero/Bruce Gibson written agreement stating they ” won’t sue the county if our superior/subordinate sexual relationship turns sour” was VALID to protect county taxpayers? You generally cannot sign away your rights against workplace sexual harassment and such agreements are void on their face as contrary to public policy, therefore void from their inception, and easily pierced at trial.

There’s a history of bad work by counselor Neal.


I’m tryin’, really tryin’ to see the connection here…. and I ain’t gettin’ there!

The topic of the article ain’t about work place harassment or in the ins-and-outs (yep, pun intended) of written agreements between two co-workers having consensual sex outside the work place, it has to do with the unjustified death of person in the custody and care of your sheriff’s department!

How ’bout bringin’ forth something a bit more relevant to the article and shows her, County Counsel Rita Neal’s, complete disregard for transparency in cases like these; when Andrew Holland died (something the most of you have shoved underneath your carpet of apathy) her and your Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, denied that Parkinson had any knowledge or communication of that death at the time it was happening, a lie proven by Parkinson’s phone records (oh by-the-way, Parkinson also approved the method of torture and murder of Andrew).

This type of behavior should be one of the reasons the bunch of you should be on the City Hall’s steps demanding some real frickin’ change! Good god! Exercise your rights to free speech, to non-violent assembly, and demand the removal of these types from their offices. You don’t? Don’t go bitchin’ and cryin when this type of shit comes knockin’ on your door, and it surely will!


Replace Mr. McLaughlin with a black person or a gay person, the county would in no way offer a paltry $42,000, put this before a jury.


So, this is reverse racism? Or just your racist view of the world comin’ out?

We know for a fact that those two groups of people often don’t find equal justice in our criminal justice system so how can you suggest they would get preferential treatment in the civil courts? It don’t add up…(a)

What this is typical of is how the county/city will drag shit like this out to the point that it becomes so emotionally draining on the plaintiff (having to revisit and relive a tragic event time and time again) they are almost assured of these paltry settlements offers being accepted.



I’m sorry for your loss Mrs. McLaughlin, I truly am. I also applaud your decision not to take this settlement offer. While no amount of money can replace your son the amount offered here is so egregiously insulting it needed to be rejected. Let your attorney take this in front of a jury, let the evidence be presented to them, open up the counties past like misdeeds to them and then let them decide what is an appropriate settlement.

I have a question to all of those posting here; when is it going to be enough? What is it going to take for y’all to open up your eyes and demand changes? When will you stop with the passive aggressive bullshit and confront this head on? I know most of you here don’t give a rats ass about this mans life, or how his loss effects his family, but you do care about your tax dollars being spent every frickin’ time this kind unjustified shit happens, right?!!!!

And y’all wonder why no one should trust any cop for any reason anymore? Stop burying your collective heads in the sand and step up, or, shut up!


Neal has got to be the most incompetent county employee. Why she continues to have such an important position defies logic and belief.


I can tell you exactly why this type shit continues; your voice, the people’s voice of SLO have been rendered ineffective and mostly by the apathy that most feel about this type of crap. No one actually cares about the death of Mr. McLaughlin, nor the effect is has on his family or the community as a whole, and they’ve proved it! How? Here’s just one example of the apathy I speak of…

“To bad, so sad. Get over it, if YOU screw up, YOU are screwed. Some expect law enforcement to curtsy to the criminals followed by a barrage of etiquette, WRONG! They are the good guys that morph into not nice when their job skills are subjectively required. Life in prison is not allowed to be filmed, being a punching bag is what can be filmed and hopefully a deterrent to prison.” – post from “Did Santa Maria police officers assault DUI suspect?” article of 10/21/2019 by CCN

That’s the type of attitude the cops rely on so they can continued unabated and unchecked, do you get that?

Every person, every human being, arrested is behind bars both for the protection of the community and for his or hers own protection, that’s the law! Every person who is in jail, other than those convicted, should have the right to a presumption of innocence from you, and your community, as it’s also the law! Once those two things have been lost to indifference and the attitude of guilty until proven innocent, and they have, this is the type of shit y’all deserve to pay for. It’s just too bad it really comes at the expense of those like Mr. McLaughlin and their families.


Easy when your job is covering up and supporting whatever the city manger and council does, regardless of whether it is legal or not. Come on and any time there is real work to be done she farms it to outside people, why not right? After she is successful in making Chief Cantrell’s many illegal acts go away following the chief losing her gun Neil will be up for another raise. Of course she has brought in outside help for both Cantrell and the city for representation, as usual.

all ways write

She has nothing to do with Chief Cantfindmygun. She is the county’s attorney not the city. But your right as far as anytime there is a problem they farm it out.

I worked for the county for 12 years and have worked with her directly. She is incompetent and fits right in.