‘At least’ 10 tort claims on way against jail, county
Two tort claims have been filed against the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department alleging the refusal of medication and ‘acting outside the bounds of all human decency.’
The claims were filed by John L. Smith of Faith Ingle Smith LLC.
Smith said there are at least eight more tort claims to be filed against the department.
‘I can’t file them fast enough,’ he said. ‘It’s ridiculous.’
Smith said, generally, most of the claims revolve around the refusal of medical treatment or medication to inmates while serving in the Harrison County Jail in Corydon.
One claim, filed on behalf of Darrell W. Kirkwood of Greenfield, alleges that upon his incarceration May 6, he asked to take his prescribed medication, Zyprexa, and was told by the medical officer, Lt. James Mabon, that he did not need his prescribed medication and they were not going to provide it to him. Smith said Kirkwood has been taking this medication for bipolar and schizophrenia disorder since 1997.
A verbal altercation ensued after the refusal, the claim states, and Mabon and Corrections Officer Nathan Adams placed Kirkwood in a padded cell and forced him to strip naked. Once in a padded cell and by himself, he continued to ask for his medication. Adams opened the door split of the padded cell and sprayed mace on Kirkwood several times, it said. Kirkwood was forced to remain naked in the cell after being maced without a shower or medical attention for more than 12 hours, Smith said, and as a result, he has suffered extreme physical and emotional distress.
Other than the sheriff’s department, the claim names the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Mike Deatrick, Mabon and Adams. It calls for a judgment of $700,000 for medical expenses, both past and future, pain and suffering and emotion distress and attorney fees.
Kirkwood is now out of the Harrison County Jail, after serving almost two months for theft.
The second claim filed by Smith was on behalf of Daniel Stearman of Corydon.
Upon incarceration May 25, the claim reads, Stearman was being treated for a gunshot wound to his right shoulder that had occurred April 25 with antibiotics and a change of bandage twice a day. Upon returning from Harrison County Hospital, Stearman was allowed to take his antibiotics and change his bandages as instructed for approximately three or four days. Thereafter, Mabon, according to the claim, refused to approve him taking his antibiotics.
After a week of not taking his antibiotics, the claim states, Stearman’s wound became infected to the point he had to return to the hospital. While at the hospital, the doctor called the jail and sent a letter to the jail indicating the seriousness of the wound and the need for Stearman to be placed on antibiotics and his bandages to be changed twice a day, according to the claim. He was also to return to the hospital in four or five days. Upon return from this trip, the claim continued, he was allowed to take his antibiotics and change his bandages twice and then he was again refused his medication or bandages. Furthermore, he was not allowed to go back to the hospital to get rechecked as directed.
Sometime after July 21 his infection became so severe that he was taken to Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany and University of Louisville Hospital and it was determined that Stearman contracted MRSA ‘ a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics ‘ due to this, the claim said.
‘It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life,’ Smith said of the infected wound.
Smith said there was basically an inch of rotting flesh on Stearman’s shoulder. But, after treatment, it is now in better shape.
Stearman is incarcerated for residential entry.
Mabon could not be reached for comment.
The defendants have 90 days to respond to the claim.
Smith said he has been in communication with the defendant’s attorney in the case on behalf of Tevin Bald. In May, Bald was allegedly placed in a padded cell where he was stripped naked, placed in a restraint chair and had a spit mask and hood placed over his face.