MARTIN COUNTY FILES RESPONSE TO LAWSUIT FILED BY THE BIG SANDY REGIONAL JAIL AUTHORITY OVER DEBT AMOUNT ALLEGEDLY OWED BY THE MARTIN COUNTY GOVERNMENT TO THE DETENTION CENTER
JUNE 14, 2019 – written by WADE QUEEN
The government officials of Martin County have answered in a counter legal brief to the lawsuit filed against the county by the jail authority board in Paintsville represented by Louisa attorney Nelson Sparks, the board’s attorney
Martin County Attorney Melissa Fannin Phelps filed a legal response on June 7, on behalf of the Martin County Fiscal Court to a lawsuit filed recently by the Big Sandy Regional Jail Authority back on May 10, due to major debt Martin County is alleged to owe to the regional jail.
In its legal filing answer to the lawsuit, Martin County states that the claims of the jail authority are barred by the doctrine of sovereign and/or governmental immunity; and that the complaint fails to state a cause of action or claim against the Martin County Fiscal Court for which the court can properly grant relief and therefore must be dismissed.
Martin County denies in its legal answer that has sufficient information or knowledge to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations that the authority sets a daily rate that it charges each county for the prisoners from the county who are housed at the jail; the Martin County Fiscal Court has accrued an arrearage of $260,858 for housing of its prisoners from Martin County thru May 6; that the Martin County Fiscal Court made a payment of $32,992 on its bill for housing its prisoners on May 9, leaving a balance of $227,886; and that the jail authority entered into an agreement with Advanced Healthcare, Inc. to provide healthcare to the inmates at the facility and agreed to pay monthly installments an annual amount for services provided by Advanced Healthcare Inc under the agreement and that each of the four counties would pay in monthly installments an annual amount for its share of the services.
The Martin County Fiscal Court also denies in its legal answer that it has sufficient information or knowledge to form a belief as to to the truth of the allegations that the Martin County Fiscal Court failed to make its required payments to Advanced Healthcare Inc. and has accrued an arrearage of $67,129.27 as of April 1; that the jail authority is liable to Advance Healthcare Inc. for any amounts that are due and which county fails to pay; that by the action, the regional jail authority now seeks against the Martin County Fiscal Court for the arrearage in an amount required to relieve them of liability of the amount owed by the Martin County Fiscal Court to Advanced Healthcare Inc.; and that on or about February 14, a Martin County prison transportation officer was in the process of transporting prisoners to the regional jail and negligently collided with a vehicle on the grounds of the facility, causing $52.31 inn damages.
The regional jail authority’s lawsuit state in its complaint that they are seeking a total $295,047.58, which includes $227,886 for housing prisoners, $67,129.27 for Advanced Healthcare Inc., and $52.31 for the vehicle struck in the accident, among other things.