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Report: Lawsuit filed over Livingston County Jail inmate’s 2018 death

Jon A lawsuit has been filed against the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and Trinity Health Livingston Hospital following the 2018 death of a Brighton man while in custody.

Livingston County Jail

According to WXYZ Channel 7, the family of 54-year-old John Griswold filed the suit alleging negligence in his death while being held at the Livingston County Jail.

Griswold was arrested by deputies after a family argument, according to the station’s report. He had no prior criminal history and was on prescribed anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants that his family said made him irritable. Although he told officers he had taken ten pills, paramedics reportedly said they were for ulcers and cleared him to be taken to the jail.

However, the station says his family contends high levels of an anti-depressant were later found in his system.

According to the lawsuit, a nurse at the jail said Griswold needed to go to the hospital after spotting his “pinpoint pupils” and “elevated heart rate.” Once there, an EKG indicated a heart rhythm consistent with a drug reaction, which attorney Brian McKeen told WXYZ could have precipitated a fatal arrhythmia, and that the hospital was negligent for releasing him back to the jail.

Once there, surveillance video shows Griswold having difficulty standing and then later vomiting in his cell. The lawsuit says deputies failed to seek medical attention after seeing that he had vomited.

Over the the next 11 hours, the lawsuit says deputies did cell checks, but that Griswold barely moved. Security cameras show his last movement shortly after 7 a.m. It was more than 40 minutes later that  deputies realize he’s not breathing and attempt CPR, but Griswold was dead.

According to Channel 7, Griswold’s death was the only one in the Livingston County Jail in the last 10 years.

Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy could not comment on the lawsuit itself, but did release a statement:

“It can be traumatic and emotional whenever there is the loss of a life,” said Murphy. “It is further magnified when the persons whose life expired, did so while in a correctional facility. We mourn for the loss of life and the family left behind, and as unfortunate as this is, I stand behind my men and women and am confident once this lawsuit comes to a final conclusion it will show there was no wrongdoing on our behalf”.

A spokesman for Trinity Health Livingston Hospital declined to comment to the station due to the lawsuit, but WXYZ reports that court filings indicate they have denied the allegations that Griswold was discharged too soon, and said medical staff “appropriately recognized this was a potential drug overdose patient and treated him as such.”

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