The mother of a young woman who died by suicide in the Duchesne County Jail in 2016 is suing the county, the sheriff and two medical professionals there, accusing them of improperly denying the woman medication to treat her mental illness.
A lawyer for Melany Zoumadakis, acting as representative of her daughter Tanna Jo Fillmore’s estate, filed the lawsuit Friday in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Duchesne County. The suit names as defendants Duchesne County, Sheriff David L. Boren, Dr. Kennon C. Tubbs and his medical practice, and Jana Clyde, a licensed practical nurse.
Fillmore, 25, died on Nov. 24, 2016 — Thanksgiving Day — by hanging herself in her cell in the Duchesne County Jail in Duchesne, about 100 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
According to the lawsuit, Fillmore suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety and panic disorder, and ADHD, when she was arrested in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. She was arrested on a probation violation for a misdemeanor drug charge in Duchesne County. Zoumadakis, a registered nurse, told Fillmore’s probation officer that her daughter could suffer injury or deterioration of her mental status if she didn’t take her Xanax and ADHD prescriptions.
After her arrest, Fillmore was held without bond in the Duchesne County Jail. The lawsuit states that Fillmore called Zoumadakis on Friday, Nov. 18, and Tuesday, Nov. 22, to complain that jail staff were not giving Fillmore her medications. Fillmore also told her mother that a public defender had told her she could face a 15-year prison sentence for the parole violation, the lawsuit says.
In the suit, Zoumadakis accuses Clyde, the LPN on site at the jail, of refusing to administer Fillmore’s prescriptions to her. On one occasion, according to the lawsuit, Clyde sent Fillmore back to her cell, and “pointedly told her that she would not be getting her psychotropic medications because she was a ‘drug addict.’”
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, Fillmore called Zoumadakis three times, begging for her mother to bring the medications and, the lawsuit said, threatening to kill herself. The next day, she was found unresponsive in her cell, and was pronounced dead.
A week after Fillmore’s death, another inmate died in the Duchesne County Jail. Madison Jensen, 21, was taken to the jail at her parents’ request, after deputies were called to the family home. Jensen, an arrest report said, had been threatening to commit suicide four days after using heroin. Jensen’s father, Jared, asked a deputy to put her in the jail “for her safety.”
Jensen was arrested on Nov. 27, 2016, for possession of paraphernalia, and a urine test later showed she had used heroin and marijuana. Four days later, on Dec. 1, 2016, Jensen died, having losing 17 pounds during her short incarceration.
In Zoumadakis’ lawsuit, she alleges that Fillmore’s death was a result of “direct actions/inactions and official policies, procedures, practices, and customs” of Duchesne County, the jail, Boren, Tubbs and Clyde. Their “deliberate indifference,” the suit continues, “subjected her to and engaged in conduct that deprived Fillmore of her constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.”
No dollar amount is specified for damages. The amount, the lawsuit says, would be decided by a jury when and if the case goes to trial.