GREGG COUNTY — Lawyers for Gregg County and the family of a woman who died in its jail failed to reach an agreement Friday that would have avoided a trial, a plaintiff’s attorney said. Jury selection in the case is set begin Monday. According to the Longview News-Journal, attorney Todd Tefteller, who represents the survivors of Amy Lynn Cowling, also said the trial would begin Jan. 22 in the Marshall courtroom of U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. Friday is the second time court-ordered mediation failed.
Cowling’s family sued Gregg County in June 2011, six months after she was found unresponsive in a separation cell where she’d been placed after exhibiting symptoms of seizure and disorientation. A recovering opiate addict, the 33-year-old brought prescriptions for methadone, Xanax and Seroquel to the jail when she was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and unpaid tickets. But those drugs are not on the list of approved prescriptions set by Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne. The doctor, by phone, prescribed Librium for anxiety and Haldol, an anti-psychotic drug, for Cowling, according to documents filed in federal court by Cowling family attorneys. Browne’s weekly jail visit was the day after Cowling died, the filings stated.
Jailers and other inmates, the Cowling family filing says, reported her crying and howling, shaking uncontrollably and unresponsive days before her Dec. 28, 2010, death, five days after her arrest. The family is seeking unspecified damages in the wrongful death suit.