Family of Columbia County man killed in Arkansas jail announces federal lawsuit over his wrongful death

Randy Rogers, a 63-year-old father of two, died on July 8, 2022 after staff at Columbia County Jail (CCJ) deliberately delayed calling an ambulance, even as security cameras documented his crisis, collapse, and death.

MAGNOLIA, ARKANSAS – The sons of Randy Rogers today announced a federal lawsuit against Columbia County, County Facility Healthcare of Arkansas LLC, Magnolia Regional Health System, Inc., and several jail employees for causing their father’s death.

Mr. Rogers recently had a heart attack and had a well-documented history of heart conditions. On the morning of July 8, 2022, he had a medical crisis. Video footage obtained by Loevy & Loevy shows Mr. Rogers in a medical crisis, clutching his chest, coughing, and shaking. All of this happened in front of multiple jail employees, who refused to call emergency medical services for almost half an hour. At one point Mr. Rogers collapsed on the floor, clutching his chest, as jail employees looked on and do nothing. After a lengthy and entirely unnecessary delay, jail staff finally called an ambulance. By the time the ambulance got to the jail, however, Mr. Rogers had already lost consciousness while handcuffed to a wheelchair. Ambulance EMTs tried to revive him, but it was too late.

Rogers’ death followed weeks of medical neglect in the Columbia County, in which the jail failed to provide him with multiple heart medications.

Mr. Rogers was 63 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his two sons. This lawsuit was brought by Mr. Rogers’ oldest son, Randy Dewayne Rogers, who is the administrator of his estate.

“If our father had been anywhere else but inside Columbia County Jail, he would be alive today,” said Randy Dewayne Rogers. “All he needed was basic help to save his life.”

“Mr. Rogers’ death is an outrageous tragedy. He was clearly dying, all while jail guards wasted precious minutes he could have spent getting the emergency care he needed,” said attorney Megan Porter, who represents the Rogers family. “The defendants treated Mr. Rogers like he did not matter. But he did—to a lot of people. A visit to a county jail should not be a death sentence.”

Timeline of Events Preceding Randy Rogers’ Death

When Rogers was booked into Columbia County Jail on May 20, 2022, he told jail staff that he had suffered a heart attack just one month prior and was prescribed six different medications to decrease his risk of a repeat attack, and that stents had been placed in his heart. But he often spent lengthy periods without his medications, despite repeatedly requesting them from the jail’s staff and medical providers.

On July 8, 2022 at approximately 7:30 AM, he told jail staff that he was having chest pain and that he was having trouble breathing. Video footage shows him coughing, wheezing, spitting mucus, and sweating profusely. Rogers reminded jail staff that he had a heart attack in April. Jail staff told their supervisor that they believed he was having a heart attack. But, the jail staff could not call 911 without approval from the off-site registered nurse. And the nurse was not answering her phone. So, jail staff waited, while Rogers coughed, gasped for breath, and clutched his chest in front of them. After almost 30 minutes of this, Rogers collapsed, yelling that he could not breathe. Finally, just before 8:00 AM, a jail supervisor told the staff to call 911, but by that time it was too late. An ambulance arrived approximately 10 minutes later. EMTs tried to revive him en route to the hospital but by then it was too late. He died at the Magnolia Regional Healthcare Center shortly thereafter.

The complaint also names medical staff associated with a nearby hospital, alleging that they failed to recognize Mr. Rogers’s symptoms from an ER visit earlier in the morning on July 8.

The Rogers family is represented by attorneys Stephen Weil and Megan Porter of Loevy + Loevy, and Doug Norwood and Alison Lee of Norwood & Norwood P.A. Loevy + Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country. Noorwood & Noorwood specializes in criminal defense in northwest Arkansas. A copy of the lawsuit, Randy Rogers, as Administrator of the Estate of Randy Rogers, v. Columbia County, et al., No. 1:24-cv-01036-SOH is available here.

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