Sides settle Lee County jail death lawsuit

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lee County’s insurance carrier and the family of a woman who died in its jail recently settled a federal lawsuit filed by her heirs.
Terms of the settlement are not public, since it was the insurance company and not the county that actually will pay, said Gary Carnathan, attorney for the Lee County Board of Supervisors.
The family of Emma Hughey sued Lee County and seven individuals in 2009. The lawsuit states that prior to her incarceration in the jail June 30, 2006, she suffered from schizophrenia and a seizure disorder.
Because she refused to take her medications, her family sought to commit her to North Mississippi State Hospital. She was housed in the Lee County jail until a bed became available at the hospital, after the chancery court ordered her committed. She died one day after entering the jail.
The family claimed she was Tased, unreasonably held in a restraint chair and denied medical attention. They also said that as her physical and mental conditions deteriorated in detention, she received no medical help.
After falling or being dropped and hitting her head, Hughey reportedly was placed on a cell bunk and left there. Several hours later jail personnel found her dead.
The court dismissed the case last week, after being informed that a settlement was reached. The case was set to go to trial Oct. 3 in the U.S. District Court of North Mississippi.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com