Smith: Lawsuit unfounded

Published 6:54 pm Monday, December 3, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Escambia County officials will likely seek a summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by a Bay Minette man who alleges the sheriff's department showed “deliberate indifference” when he was injured at the jail last year.
Sheriff Grover Smith said he hopes a judge will dismiss the case in which Rodney Stewart Presley is suing over head injuries he received during a jail fight in June 2006.
Presley received immediate medical attention after the incident, Smith said.
Presley's lawsuit, filed in federal court, also alleges a number of problems at the jail, from aging locks to understaffing.
Smith said the sheriff's office and county commission have taken steps to correct many of the problems - and that new jail locks were being installed at the time of the incident.
In addition to new locks, Smith said the jail has installed chain-link fence and hired additional employees.
Because the county commission cannot raise taxes to pay for anything other than education, Smith created a plan to contract to house federal inmates at the jail, which has generated the revenue for improvements.
Smith said he is confident the lawsuit - which has not yet gone to trial - will be resolved in favor of the county. “We're very concerned with every inmate in this jail,” he said. “There is no deliberate indifference.”