Dismissal by Summary Judgment
Tom Hale and Richard Whitaker successfully defended and obtained summary judgment of all claims against an Alabama city and its police officer/jailer on allegations of negligence that resulted in the death of a prisoner by suicide. Plaintiff’s decedent was arrested by another city that had a “sharing” arrangement with the defendant city to house the arresting city’s prisoners in its jail. Upon intake, while anti-anxiety pills were recovered from the prisoner, no other information or evidence was presented or appeared that the prisoner might be an “at risk” threat for suicide. After 24 hours of incarceration without incident and proper recurrent bed checks by the jailer per departmental policy, the prisoner quietly hung himself with a mesh laundry bag in the early morning hours and was discovered dead by the jailer upon the next scheduled prisoner check. Hale Sides was assisted by the testimony of an objective jail expert, Jeff Carter, of Kentucky.