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Lawsuit against Clark County for jail death moves to federal court

The mother of a Springfield woman who died of an overdose in the Clark County Jail has refiled her lawsuit against the county in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

Kristy Marie Parker, 32, died Jan. 20, 2016 from an overdose of drugs brought into the facility by another inmate. In March 2017, Marcia Galvan-Thompson was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The suit originally was filed in state court and sought $500,000 but the attorney for Parker’s mother, Emma Wallace, said the lack of any settlement talks precipitated the move to federal court.

RELATED: Woman gets five-year sentence in overdose death in county jail

“Our contention is that A) she was there on a possession charge so they knew or should have known that she was susceptible,” plaintiff’s attorney Michael Edwards said. “And the bigger issue is the fact that they didn’t check on her through the night and by the time they found her, it was too late to do any emergency aid.”

Edwards said Parker had two daughters and a son and that the county’s attorney hadn’t discussed any compensation nearly two years after Parker’s death.

“(Parker) has children that are left behind and that was primarily the reason we’re looking for the means to take care of these children,” Edwards said. “I was hoping to get it settled sooner than on a federal timeline. I didn’t get the response that I was hoping for so I felt it more prudent to just dismiss and refile.”

RELATED: Family of dead inmate sues Clark County

Attorney Andrew Yosowitz, who is defending the case, said he wouldn’t be commenting on the federal case. In an answer to Edwards’ complaint, the county denied the allegations.

Edwards said Parker’s case was similar to that of Ruby Farley, who died in Butler County Jail in 2012.

Butler County officials settled that federal lawsuit brought by Farley’s daughter for $285,000.

RELATED: Butler County settles jail death lawsuit for $285,000

The suit alleged Farley died from complications from withdrawal that corrections officers and jail medical staff ignored. Farley, 52, was in jail for contempt of court.

Asked if Galvan-Thompson’s conviction in Parker’s death will factor into the federal civil rights lawsuit, Edwards said, “It certainly has an effect and there’s lot of overdose victims in this county and it’s of epidemic proportion.

“Obviously, our contention is this woman was in a safe, secure facility and the family was assuming that she would be safe for at least a reasonable amount of time.”

Edwards said the trial has tentatively been scheduled for May 2019 in the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose.

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