United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
HEATHER POWELL, individually and as mother, next friend and guardian of Elizabeth Kiley Eaton, Plaintiff,
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, SHERIFF JOHN WHETSEL, OKLAHOMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT, INC., ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., and JOHN DOE 1-10, Defendants.
TIMOTHY D. DEGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint
filed by Defendants Oklahoma County Detention Center
(“OCDC”) and Oklahoma County Sheriff's
Department (“Sheriff's Department”) [Doc. No.
23]. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition [Doc. No. 24].
The matter is fully briefed and at issue.
case arises out of the suicide attempt of Elizabeth Kiley
Eaton while she was a pretrial detainee at the OCDC on June
29, 2016. Because of the suicide attempt, Ms. Eaton was
rendered comatose and remains in a vegetative state.
Plaintiff Heather Powell - as Eaton's mother, next
friend, and duly appointed guardian and as an individual -
asserts claims against the Board of County Commissioners of
Oklahoma County (“BOCC”), the OCDC, Sheriff John
Whetsel (“Whetsel”), the Sheriffs Department,
Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc. (“CHM”),
Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc.
(“Armor”), and John Doe 1-10 for negligence and
for alleged violations of Ms. Eaton's constitutional
summarize, the Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 18] alleges:
Eaton was arrested on April 30, 2016, and taken to the OCDC,
where she remained until her suicide attempt on June 29,
2016. She was 21 years old and charged with violating the
terms and conditions of her deferred sentence for
second-degree burglary (felony) and two misdemeanor offenses.
Ms. Eaton was booked in, she showed signs of depression and
despondency. A mental evaluation was scheduled, but according
to OCDC records, Ms. Eaton did not show for her appointment.
No. follow-up attempts were made to diagnose and treat her
to Ms. Eaton's jail stay, she had been diagnosed with
bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. She had
a long history of mental illness, and as an adolescent had
been a patient in several behavioral institutions. Ms. Eaton
told Plaintiff that the OCDC had “refused to put her
back on Risperdal.” [Doc. No. 18 at ¶ 12].
Eaton's cellmate recalled Ms. Eaton waking up, crying,
and saying she “wanted to die.” Id. Ms.
Eaton's cellmate reported to jailers that Ms. Eaton was
“hearing voices” and had said she
“couldn't take it anymore.” Id. at
¶ 20. In a recorded jail call from Ms. Eaton to her
mother, Ms. Eaton said she was going to kill herself. Ms.
Eaton sent Plaintiff a letter from the jail in which she
stated that she was crying and was “emotional.”
Id. at ¶ 12.
Eaton's arresting officer told Plaintiff that Ms. Eaton
seemed as if she did not care about anything.
June 29, 2016, Ms. Eaton attempted to kill herself by
hanging. She tied a sheet or pillow case to a grate above the
sink in her jail cell and jumped off the sink. Because of the
suicide attempt, Ms. Eaton was rendered comatose and remains
in a vegetative state.
OCDC was aware of Ms. Eaton's mental condition and did
nothing to prevent or prepare for a possible suicide attempt
by Ms. Eaton. Medical personnel at the jail never assessed
Ms. Eaton to determine if she posed a danger to herself.
and CHM had a contract with Oklahoma County to provide
medical services to inmates at the OCDC. Alternatively, OCDC
staff informed Armor or CHM employees of Ms. Eaton's
mental condition, and Armor or CHM failed to provide Ms Eaton
with proper medical care.
Whetsel knew that the OCDC was understaffed and
under-supervised. He had requested multiple funding
increases, which were rejected by the BOCC. This lack of
funding caused or ...