Published under Jefferson County, Tennessee Post Newspaper:
On April 16, 2014 a law suit was filed in the 4th Judiciary District in Tennessee (Dandridge) alleging wrongful death of Jeffrey Free, a prisoner in Jefferson County, due to negligent acts of officials, agents and employees of Jefferson County. The Plaintiff in the suit is Donna Free, wife of Jeffrey Free. Following a plea in December 2013 of 2nd offence Driving Under the Influence, Jeffrey Free was ordered to serve 45 days in the Jefferson County Jail, according to the complaint. Free was to report to the jail on January 11, 2014 and he was searched, had shoe laces seized and was placed in the medical unit due to medical conditions that, according to the suit, were furnished to jail officials and employees by Free’s sister. Free was provided a CPAP machine, which was prescribed, and drop cord by jail officials and employees.
The complaint states that Free was found hanging by his neck in the medical unit sometime after 9pm on January 12, 2014. It further alleges that no Sheriff’s department employees or officials were supervising the medical unit and no qualified medical personnel were at the Jefferson County Jail from the time Free was admitted and up and until the time of his death. Also included in the complaint is that the suicide unit was available but was not utilized even though medical diagnosis were provided to County Officials and employees that indicated that Free was a suicide risk and that Free’s sister also advised that he was at risk for suicide.
Donna Free is seeking all damages pursuant to the GTLA, three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000), costs, discretionary costs, interest and general relief. P. Richard Talley is the attorney for the plaintiff. Letters describing Free’s medical condition and concerns from various medical personnel, pre dating Free’s reporting to the Jefferson County Jail, were included as exhibits