LOS ANGELES – An actor who alleges a sheriff’s deputy laughed at him as he contemplated suicide while in custody in 2019 is asking a judge to begin the default process in his suit against Los Angeles County.
Attorneys for Paul Chirico allege in court papers filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court that attorneys for the county have not complied with a Sept. 9 court order directing that supplemental discovery responses be produced and that therefore the county’s answer to the suit should be stricken.
“It is well established that a party’s willful failure to comply with a court’s discovery order, in addition to being a contemptible offense, is a misuse of the discovery process and is grounds for the imposition of terminating sanctions, such as the striking of the answer and entry of a default judgment,” Chirico’s lawyers argue in their court papers. “Moreover, it appears that (the county) is deliberately withholding this discovery solely because it is supportive of the merits of the plaintiff’s case.”
In their court papers, attorneys for the county have denied any liability regarding Chirico’s allegations of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, dangerous condition of public property, and deprivation of constitutional rights.
Chirico was an inmate in the county jail system from Feb. 8, 2019 to April 7, 2019 for “flicking” almond butter at his ex-girlfriend, according to the suit filed in January 2020.
The day after his incarceration, Chirico asked a guard if he could make a call because he was involved in a television show and needed to cancel his contracts, but the guard said something sarcastic, laughed, and walked away, the suit states.
Chirico then said, “Great, I should just kill myself then,” according to the suit.
The deputy was dismissive to Chirico’s statement, so the actor took a blanket from his bed, wrapped it around his neck, and attached it to the bars of his cell, the suit states. Chirico had never experienced suicidal ideation before, but the fear and depression he felt as a first-time inmate was overwhelming, according to his suit.
The guard returned to Chirico’s cell, and the actor complied with the guard’s request that he remove his neck and blanket from the cell bars, the suit states.
When Chirico, still “feeling the overwhelming urge to hurt himself,” started banging the back of his head on a wall while restrained on a bench, he was pushed to the ground and deputies banged his head on the floor, causing a laceration to his face, the suit states.
Chirico was later confined in a solitary cell where the toilet regularly overflowed and he was forced to live and eat amid the sewage, the suit states.
“Each time (Chirico) would complain … about the toxic state of his cell, (the deputies) would laugh at (him) and ridicule him for the stench in his cell,” the suit states.
Chirico was forced to take psychiatric medication by a jail employee who was not a licensed medical professional, the suit alleges.
When Chirico’s brother arrived from Alabama to visit, the plaintiff was “covered in fecal matter with a black eye and bruise covering half of (his) face with stitches on his eyebrow,” according to the suit, which additionally states that the actor began crying.
Chirico’s suit also alleges that he was not allowed to take a shower until two weeks after he was booked.
A hearing on Chirico’s motion is scheduled Jan. 5 before Judge Terry Green. Trial of the suit is set for Feb. 14.
Chirico had a recurring role as the mysterious butler Arthur in season 1 of the YouTube Premium television series “Escape the Night.”