Ruling expected on fate of Stojcevski jail death lawsuit
A federal judge should soon decide if a wrongful death lawsuit against Macomb County officials goes to trial.
32-year-old David Stojcevski died of prescription drug withdrawal during a 16-day stay in the Macomb County jail in June 2014.
His suffering and death – captured on video monitors at the jail and released publicly last month – has drawn widespread attention and condemnation.
His family is suing the county, some saying that denial of medical care and “gross negligence” on the part of corrections officers and privately-contracted medical staff violated his civil rights, and caused his death.
After a hearing this week, plaintiff’s attorney Robert Ihrie said it’s now up to Judge Linda Parker to decide whether the case will move forward.
“But we do not anticipate that this case will be dismissed at this level,” Ihrie said Wednesday.
Parker indicated she would issue a written opinion soon.
Vladimir Stojcevski, David’s brother, is also suing for alleged mistreatment in the county jail. The brothers’ claims are now part of a single lawsuit, but lawyers said their cases might be severed if things move forward.
“It’s going to proceed in court. We’re feeling pretty confident,” Vladimir Stojcevski said. “There’s still a lot more to come out. This is just the beginning.”
Macomb County has asked for the case to be dismissed.
County lawyers argued that the lawsuit doesn’t identify the specific wrongdoing or lapse in protocol leading directly to David Stojcevski’s death. They also argued that specific county officials are protected by governmental immunity.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers said they’ve met their burden, while admitting that charges against some defendants could be dropped later.
They said the county has provided incomplete information about the brothers’ stay in jail, and specifics can only be uncovered during the discovery phase of a trial.