BURLEY — The family of a woman who died in the Burley jail is appealing after their $25 million lawsuit was dismissed.
Stephanie Lynn King Eads was a 44-year-old mother of three whose arm was amputated following a work accident. The family’s lawsuit said jail staff mistook an infection related to her amputation for withdrawals from opioid drugs, and Eads would be alive if she was treated properly. She died on Jan. 24, 2020, after spending 14 days in the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center.
Her family filed a lawsuit shortly after, but it was dismissed in federal court. Now, her attorney has filed an appeal to overturn the ruling with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California.
Eads, who had part of her left hand amputated after it was caught in a grinder during a work accident, died while incarcerated, according to the lawsuit filed by Eads’ mother, Carol Cole, her estate and family.
“I was stunned,” said Lee Schlender, the attorney for Ead’s mother, Carol Cole.
People are also reading…
The Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center, Minidoka County, Cassia County and others are being sued for $25 million in federal court by the mother of a 44-year-old woman who died in jail on Jan. 24.
Police and government officials “are very protected by the laws in our state,” Schlender said.
Qualified immunity is a defense that law enforcement and other government officials can use in response to lawsuits seeking monetary damages for alleged civil rights violations.
Schlender, who previously practiced medical law, came out of retirement to take the case.
“The real question to me is the legal morality of it. Should something like this happen,” he said.
Attorneys for the defendants, Blake G. Hall and Sam L. Angell, did not respond to requests for comment.
Eads had been on prescribed opioids at her time of arrest and, according to court records, the medical personnel who cared for her attributed many of her symptoms and complaints that she was not well to opioid withdrawal.
The suit says jail staff failed to check on him for 95 minutes after he was put in a holding cell to detox.
According to court documents, she died of a staphylococcus aureus sepsis and an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart’s chambers and valves.
“It is believed the autopsy revealed that Stephanie died from an untreated infection of her amputation stump and arm, which was ravaging her entire body and heart,” the lawsuit says. “The infection, if treated at an appropriate time, was treatable with medication and if needed, surgery.”
U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled from the bench and dismissed the case against Minidoka and Cassia counties, the jail and all the county employees, a doctor and a nurse in May. He dismissed the case against a physician’s assistant who cared for Eads in jail after further deliberation in July.
Winmill later dismissed the defendants’ requests for attorney fees but ordered Cole to pay the defendants $5,355.67 in disposition costs, according to court records.
The costs to file an appeal in the appellate court will “easily run $15,000 to $20,000,” Schlender said. “That’s why few people ever use that system. They don’t file appeals.”
A transcript obtained by the Times-News of the May hearing where most of the case was dismissed showed Winmill found that evidence did not support claims that the doctor, counties, county defendants, jail nurse and individual defendants were “deliberately indifferent to Ms. Eads’ medical condition,” the 66-page transcript reads.
“And if there is something they could have done different, it clearly was not so obviously wrong that they would not be protected by qualified immunity in any event,” the transcript said.
The court judgment for the physician’s assistant said there were no facts showing the physician’s assistant was “deliberately indifferent to Eads’ serious medical needs.”
Schlender said he filed his brief with the appellate court on Monday, and it generally takes a year for a case in that court to reach judgment.
October crime report: Murder cases, mall shooting, drug busts and more
Did you miss any crime and court news from last month? Here's a collection of the crime reports, notable arrests and important court hearings to make sure you know what's going on.
A former Idaho gubernatorial candidate will face a jury trial on charges of murder and kidnapping in Colorado next week.
The Fremont County Prosecutor’s Office agreed Thursday to a change of venue in the scheduled jury trial for Chad Daybell.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin will face a hearing next week on whether she should be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with a judge's order in a public records lawsuit.
The City of Heyburn’s police chief has been placed on administrative leave, but city officials are declining to say much about the issue.
An intact bull elk with its head and antlers removed was found north of Ketchum. Officials want to know who did it.
At times the exchanges between the two attorneys grew heated, and Boyce cautioned Wood and Prior to refrain from personal attacks.
Newly released documents from the complex investigation of a woman accused of conspiring to kill her children and husband reveal sordid details of a cult-like belief system of “zombies” and “vibrations" plus a disintegrating marriage and an affair.
A former Idaho lawmaker charged with rape has been booked into a jail in Boise.
District Judge Steven Boyce granted a motion to change venue in Chad Daybell's murder case.
A former Twin Falls resident on trial in the 1984 killing of a 12-year-old Colorado girl wasn't even remotely considered a suspect to law enforcement until his obsession with the crime turned him into the suspect, prosecutors said.
A former state lawmaker made his first appearance in an Idaho courtroom on charges that he raped a young legislative intern earlier this year.
A woman who police say tried to kill her husband by putting a garbage bag over his head waived her preliminary hearing set for Friday.
Gilberto Rodriguez says he is innocent and did not kill Regina Krieger. A judge just sentenced him to spend the rest of his life in jail for the murder.
The Payette County Sheriff's Office says its investigating allegations that three young athletes were hazed by fellow football players at a southwestern Idaho high school.
A Pocatello man has been charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter after police say his wife and another man were found shot to death inside his home.
A woman has been sentenced to a prison treatment program for what prosecutors said was her role in a violent kidnapping and torture case.
The fourth day of testimony in the trial of Steve Pankey, the 70-year-old Idaho man accused of the 1984 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews, ended with a tearful testimony from Pankey’s ex-wife.
Nearly two weeks after an east Idaho judge ruled that Chad Daybell’s murder trial should be moved to a new county, the Idaho Supreme Court has designated a new venue.
Bail was denied Wednesday for a former Silicon Valley mother arrested in Idaho after being accused of hosting alcohol-fueled parties for her teenage son and his friends.
A suspect is in custody after two people were killed and four injured — including a police officer — in a shooting at a shopping mall Monday in Boise, Idaho, police said.
The Boise Police Department said Monday evening that “an exchange of gunfire” between the suspect and an officer left the suspect hospitalized.
“I can’t even put into words how completely devastated and shattered I am.”
One of the victims of the Boise mall shooting was from Rupert.
“The noise, that was what made it the scariest. It was magnified like 100 times in the mall.”
“I’m devastated,” his 26-year-old daughter Yanet Padilla told the Idaho Statesman in a message. “I felt that I died when my husband told me what happened."
The man identified by police as the perpetrator of Monday’s fatal shooting at the Boise Towne Square mall was a felon and had been flagged by Idaho State Police in April on suspicion of illegally possessing firearms, according to public records.
More than 6,000 fentanyl pills were seized during a drug bust in south-central Idaho on Tuesday.
A man and a woman have been charged in connection with a Twin Falls home invasion robbery where police said a man was bound by a belt in his bedroom, struck and robbed.
In those chaotic moments, shoppers didn’t have a plan. But the store manager did. “Having her do that was a life saver.”
Jerome High School released students early on Friday morning because of a social media threat.
Steve Pankey, the former Twin Falls resident on trial for the 1984 murder of Jonelle Matthews, testified that he lied about the case to law enforcement over the years, out of bitterness against his former church, his former supervisor and police.
Lori Vallow’s attorney alleged in a motion that an employee with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare manipulated her into contacting a lawyer with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that that lawyer betrayed her trust.
Boise Police have identified the officer who fired at the suspect in Monday’s mall shooting.
A magistrate judge says there is enough evidence for a rape case against a former state lawmaker to move forward in court.
No charges will be filed against Heyburn Police Chief Dan Bristol after an Idaho State Police investigation report was sent to the Twin Falls County prosecutor.
In this Series
- 29 updates