Long Island Mother Sues Over Son’s Suicide At Nassau Jail

A Long Island mother is suing over her son’s suicide at a Nassau County jail. Bartholomew Ryan, 32, hanged himself last month in his cell while he was incarcerated on a a DWI charge.

Ryan’s mother, Lilyann Ryan, alleges that the jail was negligent in its care and supervision of Bartholomew, which led to his suicide, said Newsday. Lilyann is represented by the national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, which filed a wrongful death claim that seeks up to $22 million in damages.

Lawyers for Lilyann allege the Nassau County jail should have taken steps to protect the former solder, who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction, said Newsday. Ryan served a one-year combat deployment near Al Taqaddum in Iraq in 2005, said The East Meadow Patch. According to his family, the former Marine was began suffering from PTSD following his return from Iraq. The PTSD led to his drug problem, the family said.
In the past two years, the Nassau County Correction Facility has seen five reported suicides, including Ryan’s, and has had the second-highest number of jail suicides in New York state since 2010, said the law firm of Parker Waichman, wrote Newsday. The claim was served on county officials last week.

“The family is ultimately doing this because Bart served his country and was let down by the system as a whole, and by a county that was supposed to keep him safe,” said Raymond Silverman, an attorney with Parker Waichman. “What happened at the Nassau County Correctional Facility has been a civil rights crisis that is taking place right in our backyard,” Silverman added, said Newsday.

Jailed on February 23rd following a hearing before Nassau District Court Judge Andrew Engel after a traffic stop in August 2010, it was found that Ryan had methadone in his system at the time of the stop, said Newsday. The former Marine was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, as well as for excessive speed, according to The East Meadow Patch.

Ryan was imposed $5,000 bail he was unable to raise for the misdemeanor charge, said Newsday. Guards at the facility found Ryan hanging from a noose he made from a bed sheet the next morning. Nassau University Medical Center physicians were unable to revive Ryan, said Newsday.

The notice of claim sites “the personal injuries and wrongful death of her son,” on behalf of Liliann. The notice also alleges that the respondents knew Ryan suffered from drug addiction and psychological diseases, particularly PTSD; it failed to appropriately intake Ryan into the Correctional system; it failed to place Ryan in a proper custodial setting, especially in light of his “tendencies and inappropriate behavior”; it failed to move Ryan within a reasonable time to obtain medical treatment; and it never “administered accepted life-sustaining treatment in an emergent time” after they found him hanging in his cell, said The East Meadow Patch.

Although Nassau County Sheriff, Michael Sposato, told Newsday, via email, that “Upon admission to the facility, he was examined by both medical and mental health staff before being placed on the special housing tier in the new admission area,” the jail remains under ongoing scrutiny for the increasing number of deaths reported at the facility, noted the East Meadow Patch.

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