Allegheny County sued over inmate's jail death

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Survivors of a man who died in May in the Allegheny County Jail sued the county and its inmate healthcare provider Friday.

Derek E. Black, 28, of Bethel Park, had faced drug and theft charges. He was in a fight with another inmate in mid-April, according to the complaint filed by attorney Timothy M. Kolman.

He repeatedly requested, and was denied, medical treatment, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, until he was finally transferred to UPMC Mercy on April 30. He died there on May 6 of "pulmonary conditions ... left untreated" at the jail, according to the complaint.

The lack of treatment was cruel and unusual punishment, according to the complaint, which demanded compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction against county and its jail health service requiring better medical care for inmates.

The death was also a subject of a whistle-blower lawsuit by former jail nurse Sherry Anderson, which was filed in September, dismissed from U.S. District Court last month and refiled in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas last week. Ms. Anderson in that case claimed she was fired in part because she was going to blow the whistle on Black's care.

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