Former inmate files suit

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A former Lawrence County Jail inmate has filed a lawsuit against sheriff Jeff Lawless and deputy jailers, saying she was assaulted and denied her prescribed medication while housed at the facility in April 2013.

The suit was filed in Cincinnati’s federal court by Donna Wicker, 53, represented by Columbus-based law firm Spater and Davis-Williams LLC.

Defendants in the case are Lawless, jailers Michael Mosley and Courtney James, as well as an unnamed sheriff’s office employee.

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Wicker pleaded guilty to a charge of theft on April 10, 2013, after which time she was placed in the county jail before she would be transferred to a prison.

In the complaint, Wicker said she is a Type 2 diabetic who requires daily medications, as well as for hypertension and to control her cholesterol. She said her daughter bought her medications to the jail, but when she asked to be administered her medication, was repeatedly told they “had not been set up.”

The complaint alleged Wicker was not given any medication until April 12, and when she was given medication, she claimed she did not recognize the pills but was forced to take them anyway.

Two hours later, Wicker claimed she “found herself lying on the floor nauseous, dizzy and lightheaded.”

Wicker alleged she was made to test her own blood sugar despite her vision being blurred. She also claimed she lost consciousness twice, and awoke to the jailers “kicking her left ribs, left thigh and left shoulder.”

Once an EMT unit arrived, the complaint alleged Wicker’s blood pressure was 60/40 and she was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center Ironton Campus.

Within the hour, the suit alleged, Wicker was flown to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.

Two days later she was transported to the women’s prison in Marysville, but the suit alleged her family was not notified of her medical condition or her release to prison.

The suit alleged Wicker never returned to the county jail and her daughter was called 10 days later to pick up her personal belongings. According to the complaint, “each medication bottle still had the exact same number of pills in them as when Wicker packaged them,” before her incarceration.

The complaint seeks an undetermined amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson has requested the commissioners to forward the complaint to the county’s insurance provider so they can file an answer by no later than May 12.

The sheriff had no comment about the lawsuit at this time.