A Texas woman filed a lawsuit against Montgomery County, Sheriff John Fuson, the sheriff’s office, the county jail and the city of Clarksville for negligence in the hanging death of her daughter at the jail last year.
Additional defendants include Lt. Jason Litchfield, Lt. Harold Stilts, a booking sergeant identified as John or Jane Doe and a sergeant of custody identified as John or Jane Doe.
Barbara Koerth, who represents the estate of Kimberlie Taylor Holman, said when her daughter was arrested by Clarksville police and then booked in at the Montgomery County Jail in October 2019, she exhibited abnormal behavior and indicated the need for “increased monitoring and further safety sanitization of her cell.”
The complaint was filed Oct. 12 exactly one year after Holman’s death in the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The lawsuit claims despite Holman was a high-risk person, the Montgomery County Jail’s operators did not put proper measures in place to ensure Holman’s safety while in custody.
The suit said at some point, Holman was administered multiple doses of Naxolone.
“Naxolone is a powerful barbiturate given to sufferers of opioid addiction and overdose,” the lawsuit said. “The decedent was not a victim of opioid addiction, and in fact, there was no sign of any opioids in her system reported from her autopsy.”
The suit said Naxolone was not reported to the emergency medical responders who treated Holman after she was hanged, and the responders dosed Holman with four rounds of epinephrine to try to revive her, which led to “unknown internal reactions and potential bodily harm.”
Holman reportedly was pronounced dead after she arrived at the emergency room Oct. 12, 2019.
“At no time was her emergency contact or family notified of her condition or status,” the lawsuit said.
Further, despite not registered as an organ donor, Holman’s organs were reportedly handled and considered for donation prior to any contact with her family or emergency contacts, according to the suit.
Due to the negligence, careless and reckless disregard of duty, the defendants named in the case were the cause of Holman’s death, the suit claimed.
According to the complaint, the defendants failed to look out for Holman’s safety, failed to use reasonable care in the training employees concerning hazards associated with management of inmates, failed to properly manage and supervise the action of employees, failed to adequately inspect the jail cell where Holman was housed at the time of her fatal injury, failed to sanitize the cell from dangerous items for someone in Holman’s condition and failed to use reasonable care once Holman’s injuries were discovered.
In the lawsuit, Koerth demanded a jury trial and requested to reserve the right to prove the amount of damages at trial.
Montgomery County attorney Tim Harvey said the county does not regularly comment on pending litigation.
"This matter is at the beginning stage with the filing of the original claim," Harvey said in an email. "It has not yet been served on Montgomery County. We will timely file our defense to the claim and move forward until the matter is heard and ultimately determined by the court in an orderly process and within those governing rules."