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White v. Washington County

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

January 12, 2015

LISA WHITE as Surviving Natural Parent and Next of Kin of AARON BEVER, Deceased,
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, et al.,

For Lisa White, as Surviving Natural Parent and Next of Kin of Aaron Bever, Deceased Deceased, Aaron Bever, Plaintiff: Adam Garrison Russell, Steven E Kramer, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Kramer, Rayson LLP (Knox), Knoxville, TN; John M King, Matthew A Spivey, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Richard A Spivey, Spivey, King & Spivey, LLC, Kingsport, TN.

For Washington County, Tennessee, Eddie Graybeal, Jr., Sheriff, Individually, Eddie Graybeal, Jr., Sheriff, in his official capacity, Defendants: Jeffrey M Ward, LEAD ATTORNEY, Milligan & Coleman, Greeneville, TN.

For Southern Health Partners, Inc., Defendant: Daniel F Beasley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lanier, Ford, Shaver & Payne, Huntsville, AL.

Thomas W. Phillips, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE. Inman.

Page 956

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Thomas W. Phillips, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This civil action is before the Court on two pending motions: the motion for partial dismissal filed by defendants Washington County, Tennessee (" Washington County" ) and Sheriff Ed Graybeal, Jr. (collectively the " Washington County defendants" ) [Doc. 7]; and the motion to dismiss filed by defendant Southern Health Partners, Inc. (" SHP" ) [Doc. 9]. The plaintiff responded in opposition to the first motion [Doc. 13], but she has not responded or otherwise answered the second motion and the time for doing so has long passed. See E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1(a), 7.2.

The Court has carefully considered the motions, supporting memoranda [Docs. 8, 10], plaintiff's response, and the authorities cited therein. For the reasons set forth herein, defendants Washington County and Graybeal's motion to dismiss [Doc. 7] will be DENIED in part and GRANTED in part and defendant SHP's motion to dismiss [Doc. 9] will be GRANTED.

I. Relevant Facts[1]

Plaintiff's decedent Aaron Bever committed suicide while incarcerated in the Washington County jail. On June 7, 2013, following an incident where he was barricaded in a hotel room with a gun to his head, Mr. Bever was transported by the Washington County Sheriff's Office to the Johnson City Medical Center Emergency Department for a mental health evaluation [Doc. 1 at ¶ 10]. The next day, Mr. Bever was transported by Washington County officers to Woodridge Hospital where he was admitted for seven days for both physical and psychological problems, including suicidal ideation [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 11-12]. After he was discharged on June 14, 2013, Mr. Bever was transported to the Washington County jail and was examined by unnamed health professionals before being placed in his cell [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 13-14]. On June 16, 2013, Mr. Bever was found hanging in his jail cell [ Id. at ¶ 17]. Mr. Bever was resuscitated and taken to the Johnson City Medical Center Emergency Department where he died on June 17, 2013 [ Id. at ¶ 18].

Plaintiff Lisa White is the surviving natural parent of Mr. Bever and alleges that the Washington County defendants were aware of Mr. Bever's psychological issues, including a previous suicide threat, and yet the defendants failed to provide sufficient safeguards to prevent his suicide [ Id. at ¶ ¶ 2, 15-16]. Defendant SHP is alleged to be a private for-profit entity which was

Page 957

contracted to provide medical and psychological care to the inmates at the Washington County jail [ Id. at ΒΆ 6]. Plaintiff has asserted federal constitutional claims and state claims of negligence ...


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