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$300,000 Settlement in Lincoln County Missouri Jail Attempted Suicide Suit

by Chad Marks

Mark A. Jaconski was arrested on June 17, 2015, for outstanding traffic warrants and taken to Mercy Hospital for a “fit for confinement” determination. Hospital officials made that determination and Jaconski was transported to the Lincoln County Jail in Missouri.

No mental health screening was done of Jaconski upon his admittance to the jail. Jaconski’s mother made numerous attempts by telephone to inform jail staff that her son had a mental health history that included prior suicide attempts and his need for prescribed medication. None of Monica Brown’s messages were returned. Jaconski himself requested to see nurse Tanya Drummond numerous times, all to no avail.

After two days at the Lincoln County Jail, Jaconski was brought before a municipal court judge on June 14, 2015. That judge ordered his release on his own recognizance.

Once returned to the jail, Jaconski was returned to the general population with no notification from jail guards as to when and if he was going to be released. During the noontime meal, Jaconski reported to Sergeant Noland that he was hearing voices and wanted a cell by himself. He told Nolan that he was bi-polar and schizophrenic, had not been taking his prescribed medication, and that he was going to hurt himself.

Jaconski was placed in an isolation cell with no action as to his medical needs. He told the guards on the way to the isolation cell that he did not want to be by himself—that he wanted to be in a place he could be observed because he felt like he was going to hurt himself. Those requests were denied.

True to his word, Jaconski was on a crash course to hurt himself. After being left in the cell for 40 minutes to one hour with no one checking on him, he was found hanging by the neck from his pants tied to the top bunk rail. Jaconski was transported to the hospital where he stayed the next several months. On January 22, 2016, he died due to complications from his injuries suffered at the Lincoln County Jail.

Jaconski’s mother, Monica Brown, filed a civil rights action for monetary relief in federal district court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She argued Lincoln County had a policy, practice and custom of failing to monitor, train, discipline, and supervise its employees. In addition, Brown alleged the torts of medical malpractice and wrongful death.

Rather than putting the gloves on and fighting it out in court, Brown and Lincoln County decided to settle the case for $300,000. As part of that settlement, Lincoln County was able to deny any fault for Jaconski’s injuries or death despite the evidence suggesting otherwise. See: Brown v. Drummond, Missouri Eastern District Court, Case no. 4:17-cv-01679. 



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Related legal case

Brown v. Drummond