Family of Marshall County jail inmate who died blames sheriff and jail staff in lawsuit filed

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:57 PM CST
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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - The family of a Marshall County Jail inmate who died in custody is suing the Sheriff’s Office.

Nickolas Black died early last year due to medical issues, and now his family wants answers and justice.

Family members of Nickolas Black claim that staff did not do their job in caring for him while he was inside the Marshall County jail.

They believe that as a result, Black died in Huntsville Hospital in February of last year after suffering from pneumonia and kidney failure.

Now his family is suing Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims, Chief Corrections Officer Matt Cooper, Southern Health Partners, and nurse Lisa Rigsby in federal court.

“This should have never happened. We contend all of the defendants were negligent in their care, and they are obligated to provide care to every inmate in Marshall County jail, and they failed in that duty,” said family attorney James T. Sasser.

In court documents, Blacks family states that they were able to contact Nikolas via text and found out that he was sick. Sasser said Nikolas’s mother contacted the jail about her concerns and was told that he was fine and depressed.

“One of Nick’s treating physicians and who treated him when he arrived at the hospital, and before that said the only way for Nickolas to arrive at the Huntsville Hospital in the condition he was is in is that the people who were caring for him were grossly negligent or incompetent. He said or, they didn’t give a damn, and I think that’s a combination of both things in this case,” said Sasser.

Sasser said now his main goal is to get justice for the family.

“The Blacks are devasted, and he was their only child. He would have been 23 years old, and we do want some accountability,” said Sasser.

Sheriff Sims and chief corrections officer Cooper have filed a motion to dismiss the case. Sasser said he will respond to that motion next week.

WAFF48 also reached out to Sheriff Sims’ and Chief Jailer Cooper’s attorneys and have yet to hear back.

Black was in jail after being arrested on charges for criminal solicitation of a minor after traveling to meet a child for sex.

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