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Man settles in wife’s death

Suit claimed medical needs not addressed at jail

BOZEMAN – A Bozeman man has reached a $2 million settlement in a civil lawsuit after his wife died in the Gallatin County Jail over Thanksgiving weekend in 2005.

Gallatin County, the city of Bozeman and the jail’s health care provider settled with Jay Josephs and his three children over the death of Kathryn Leibrock-Josephs, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Friday.

“The hope is that the size of the judgment shows there really was something to what our claims were,” Josephs said.

Leibrock-Josephs, 45, was arrested the night before Thanksgiving 2005 after an alleged assault involving her son. She remained jailed over the holiday weekend and was found unconscious on the floor of her jail cell early Sunday morning. She later died at a Bozeman hospital.

The lawsuit argued that Leibrock-Josephs had a right to have bail set within 48 hours.

“The law requires pre-trial detainees who are arrested without a warrant to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of detainment, regardless of holidays and weekends,” Josephs’ attorney, James Kommers, wrote in the lawsuit.

It alleged jailers knew Leibrock-Josephs was an alcoholic and had other medical needs, including obesity, that were not addressed while she was detained. The lawsuit alleged the county jail was understaffed, there was no defibrillator available, and rescue breathing masks used by jailers malfunctioned.

Leibrock-Josephs’ autopsy was inconclusive and a July 2006 inquest did not find any criminal conduct.

The settlement will be paid on behalf of Gallatin County and Sgt. Gregory Bishop, the city of Bozeman, Spectrum Medical and two nurses.


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