A Putnam County man, seriously injured in a traffic accident over a year ago, has filed a federal court lawsuit against DeKalb County and the previous Sheriff's administration claiming he was detained more than 15 hours as a prisoner at the jail without receiving proper medical care.
Daniel Lloyd Billings has named as defendants, DeKalb County; former Sheriff Lloyd Emmons, individually and officially; Adam West, individually and officially; Samantha Young, individually and officially; Thomas Southworth, individually and officially; and John Does # 1 to #3, individually and officially.
West, Young, and Southworth were all employees of the Sheriff's Department at the time of the incident and the John Doe defendants are other unidentified Sheriff's Department and or DeKalb County employees who were working at the county jail facility during Billings' detention.
The defendants have not yet had a chance to file an answer to the complaint.
The lawsuit states that \"On or about November 13th, 2005, while Billings was driving his car, the vehicle left the road and hit a tree on Backbone Road in DeKalb County.\"
\"Billings' car sustained extensive front end damage, the steering wheel was broken by the impact of Billings' chest, and he was pinned in the car for some period of time.\"
\"DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer, and a DeKalb County ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident.\"
\"Although it was apparent that Billings had been injured in the accident, the ambulance left the scene without rendering treatment.\"
\"Billings was arrested by the highway patrol officer at the scene under suspicion of DUI and he was taken to the DeKalb County Jail. Billings was turned over to the exclusive custody and control of the Sheriff's Department and it's employees and officials at or around 9:00 p.m. on November 13th, 2005.\"
The lawsuit alleges that \"the jail intake officer, Samantha Young, was aware, from Billings' physical condition and statements he made during his initial intake, that he had suffered serious injuries in the accident and was in need of immediate medical attention. Despite being given actual notice by Billings of his need for immediate medical treatment and her own observations of his physical condition, Young failed to seek prompt or proper medical attention to Billings' serious medical needs and instead placed him in a jail cell with another detainee in an exhibition of deliberate indifference to his plight.\"
\"Billings was physically sick, vomiting blood and was unable to rise up off the floor, and it was readily apparent to his cell mate that Billings was seriously hurt and was in need of immediate medical attention.\"
\"Billings' cell mate immediately informed jail officials, including Adam West, of Billings' condition and his need for assistance but was told that Billings had refused treatment at the scene of the accident.\"
\"After continuing to observe Billings' vomiting blood and his other physical difficulties, Billings' cell mate repeatedly banged on his cell door, yelled out that someone needed to get Billings medical help, and talked with West 3 to 4 times about Billings' need to go to the hospital. Despite his own observations and being placed on actual notice of the need for immediate medical treatment, West exhibited deliberate indifference to Billings' plight. Finally, some two hours later, West responded that he was waiting for the Tennessee Highway Patrol officer to come back to the jail, and to read his warrants.\"
\"During this time, Billings again personally complained to jail officials about his injuries and need for medical help, but to no avail.\"
\"After more than 12 hours of incarceration in the DeKalb County Jail, Billings was finally removed from his cell, but his release was delayed an additional two hours or more in the release bond process, so that he was not freed from the exclusive custody or control of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department until approximately noon on November 14th, some 15 hours after his arrest.\"
The lawsuit states that \"the defendants, and each of them, were aware of the physical condition of Billings and that he was at serious risk of substantial harm from his medical condition, yet disregarded this risk and took no prompt or reasonable measures to abate the risk of harm from his injuries.\"
\"Upon his release from the jail, Billings was immediately taken to the DeKalb County hospital, by family members rather than jail officials. He was in respiratory distress, and his condition was so serious that he was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center by ambulance. A physical examination of Billings disclosed that he had multiple rib fractures, chest wall contusions, pulmonary collapse, a pseudo aneurysm, a C2 laminar fracture of his neck, free blood within the pelvis, and a lacerated spleen with active bleeding. All these injuries were suffered in the car accident occurring some 15 hours before.\"
\"As a direct and proximate result of the delay in receiving medical treatment, Billings' serious medical injuries were exacerbated, his wound became infected, and necrosis set in requiring extended hospitalization and multiple surgeries which are continuing to this day.\"
\"Billings has suffered serious personal injury from which he has not fully recovered. Billings has incurred and continues to incur medical bills and expenses believed to be in excess of $500,0000 and has lost wages, income and potential for income that he would have otherwise earned had his medical situation been promptly addressed. In addition, Billings seeks to recover for his pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, past and future medical and related expenses, lost earning capacity, permanent physical impairment and all other damages permitted by law including, in the appropriate case and under the appropriate theory, the recovery of such punitive damages as a jury may allow.\"
Billings wants the case tried before a 12 member jury panel.