Inmates sue sheriff’s office, Miniat

Dr. Stephen Miniat

Dr. Stephen Miniat

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM.

Seven county jail inmates filed suit earlier this month in federal court, alleging the sheriff’s office, and former jail physician Dr. Stephen Miniat, deprived them of needed medical care.

The suit was filed Aug. 15 in Florida Northern District Court by attorneys from the Tallahassee law firm of Marie A. Mattox on behalf of Jason T. Wilson, Derek Strevel, Allen O’Neal, Michael Quinn, Sam Revell, Anthony Sanders and James West.

The suit was filed in federal court because the inmates are asserting claims under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment, and the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizens equal protection under the law. They also assert allege the damages to the plaintiffs are in excess of $75,000, the minimum threshold required to sue.

The suit alleges a series of medical issues took place at the county jail between Oct. 2010 and Dec. 2011, and were addressed by Miniat, who was under contract to provide medical services to the sheriff’s office, which at the time was headed by Sheriff Skip Shiver. Mock, who was elected in Aug. 2012, is being sued since he is Shiver’s successor as operator of the county jail on Highway 65.

According to the suit, “at least one inmate has died and several others injured due to the deliberate indifference and negligence of jail staff and medical staff.”

None of the seven plaintiffs has died, but the suit references another case, that of Dale Bedell, who it says died while incarcerated at the jail on June 19, 2011. The suit says Bedell’s estate has filed a separate lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.

The earliest allegation of inadequate medical care dates back to Oct. 12, 2010, when Quinn is said to have tripped over extension cords and fallen on the jail’s concrete floor, injuring his wrist and hip, and re-injuring his back.

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