Gregg County Jail policy shift on medication may affect lawsuit

Monday, September 23, 2013 - 12:42pm

A policy controlling prescription drug use in the Gregg County Jail was quietly changed on the day in 2011 that an inmate lawsuit that produced a $1.9 million settlement was filed.

The implications are unknown for a new, similar lawsuit blaming another jail death on the withholding of prescription medication.

The survivors of 33-year-old Amy Lynn Cowling blamed her 2010 death on a policy that withheld her Xanax, Seroquel and methodone. Although they were prescribed to Cowling for bipolar disorder and opiate withdrawal, they were not on the pre-approved list of drugs allowed in the county lockup when she was arrested in December 2010.

On Aug. 6, the mother of Bobby Joe Madewell Jr. filed a federal lawsuit blaming his March 21 death while in custody on the county’s refusal to let her son have his prescriptions for Xanax and hydrocodone.

The Cowling and Madewell lawsuits are similar, except for a June 2011 jail policy change that replaced the list of approved drugs with a vetting process that begins at book-in.

Todd Tefteller, who represents Madewell’s mother and was lead attorney for Cowling’s family, declined to comment Friday on the jail’s policy change.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.


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