Boston, Holt & Durham, PLLC

Apparent suicide in jail results in wrongful death suit

If a person in Tennessee is charged with breaking the law the criminal justice system exists to determine whether the accused is actually guilty of the formal accusations. If the accused is found guilty, it is up to the system to determine an appropriate sentence. While being held in jail, the system has a responsibility to try to ensure the safety of those being detained. An apparent failure to do so has resulted in a wrongful death suit.

In July 2018, a young man was arrested and charged with DUI, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license. He was placed in the Hardeman County Jail where his parents went with the intent of paying his bail. They met with the sheriff who said he believed the young man had a substance abuse problem and needed help the jail could provide. The sheriff said the accused attempted suicide during two prior jail visits.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the accused was put in solitary confinement following a fight and was not carefully watched. He reportedly called out for help but the calls did not appear to elicit a response from the guards. He was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. The suit claims that the sheriff did not provide the addiction counseling and help as he had told the parents he would. The suit is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and another undisclosed amount in punitive damages.

The disease of addiction is a chronic one, and a failure to treat it often results in death. The death of a loved one in Tennessee that may have been caused by failure to provide treatment can cause a pain in one's heart that no amount of time can heal. No one can undo the tragedy, but a successfully litigated wrongful death suit can provide compensation for final costs and other verifiable losses, including pain and suffering.

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