GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The mother of a man who died while in custody at the George County Regional Correctional Facility has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her son's children.
George County, the City of Lucedale, and former jail nurse Carmon Sue Brannan are named as defendants in the case.
Donna Dixon, mother of William Joel Dixon, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday, Sept. 22.
The lawsuit alleges medical inaction by Brannan, lack of training, and ineffective policies at the jail led to Dixon's death.
The lawsuit claims Dixon told intake staff about his condition when he was arrested by Lucedale police on Sept. 17, 2014.
According to the lawsuit, Brannan was the healthcare administrator and a registered nurse at the jail while Dixon was locked up. The court filing alleges Brannan deprived Dixon of his medication, claiming he was "faking" or "detoxing," despite his deteriorating health.
The lawsuit claims Brannan had a known history among jail staff and supervisors of failing to provide adequate medical care for inmates, and policies and lack of training at the jail prevented other staff members from acting on their own to provide care for serious medical conditions.
The lawsuit also alleges Brannan and the jail violated Dixon's 14th Amendment rights by refusing to let him see a doctor or transfer to a medical facility for treatment. Brannan also failed to alert an emergency medical care provider after Dixon was found unconscious in the shower two days before his death, the lawsuit alleges.
According to court documents, the jail allowed Brannan to oversee healthcare in the jail without proper supervision, which exceeded her scope of practice as a registered nurse.
The suit claims the City of Lucedale failed to properly monitor the quality of care and treatment of its arrestees being held at the George County jail.
The lawsuit seeks damages for Dixon's family, though it does not request a specific amount. The suit asks for damages for Dixon's future loss of income, medical and funeral expenses, along with damages for his pain and suffering and mental distress. The suit also seeks compensatory damages for Dixon's children for the loss of affection and companionship of their father as well as punitive damages from Brannan, along with attorney's fees and expenses.
Brannan is still facing a criminal charge in the case after withdrawing a guilty plea for manslaughter. She is due in court this month.