A picture of Lina Odom
Lina Odom, 28, died in custody of the Duval County jail.

The Duval County jail’s former medical provider has landed itself back in court — this time for failing to pay the first sum in a wrongful-death settlement.

Lina Odom, 28, died in 2018 after her extreme alcohol withdrawal symptoms were ignored, according to her family’s settled lawsuit. At the time, Armor Correctional Health Services handled care at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility. 

Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters dissolved the city’s contract with Armor after The Tributary reported on problems with Armor’s care, including that deaths under the company’s care tripled compared to the years where the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office handled medical care in-house. 

NaphCare – another private, for-profit company – took over for Armor with a $110-million, five-year contract on Sept. 1.

Jack Cook, the attorney for Odom’s family, said that Armor nurses and jail staff ignored her extreme alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms after her arrest, which resulted in her death.

Odom’s family had to fight Armor for three years before the company agreed to settle. On July 11, Armor committed to pay $170,000 to the family.

Of that, Armor agreed to pay $128,771.40 over the course of 24 months beginning on Sept. 1. Another $41,228.60 was supposed to be paid in a lump sum within 30 days from ProAssurance – a company that sells liability insurance to doctors – to Cook’s firm, Morgan & Morgan.

Cook filed a motion to enforce the settlement on Monday, telling Judge Marcia Morales Howard that Armor has yet to make any payment.

The City of Jacksonville settled its part of the lawsuit separately for $10,000. 

Odom’s death

Cook filed a lawsuit against Armor on behalf of Odom’s father in 2020. According to that lawsuit and jail records, Odom was arrested twice in April 2018.

The first time, she was there for one day, and medical records noted she had needle marks up and down her arms. Odom told nurses that she used crack and heroin daily, so she was placed under detox protocols, which usually comes with an added level of care. 

However, her second arrest, on April 22, went differently. 

Despite knowing her history and Odom again admitting that she was a daily drug user, the jail never put her under special observation, according to the settled lawsuit.

Lina Odom’s Timeline

Instead of medically evaluating her, Cook said, the jail sent Odom to a mental health counselor because she kept falling asleep during questioning. She told the counselor that she wasn’t suicidal and had no diagnosis other than being “dope sick,” according to the lawsuit. 

One nurse said Odom needed to be under withdrawal procedures, but Odom was placed with the general population instead two days later, even after she told an Armor nurse that she was still withdrawing, Cook said.

“They throw her in gen pop; they mildly observe her, and she’s getting sicker and sicker, and she keeps going to the medical nurses, and they keep sending her back,” Cook told The Tributary before the settlement was reached. “People like Lina belong in a hospital. They belong some place where they can get the treatment.”

An autopsy showed that Odom had cocaine in her system, according to the lawsuit. 

“Her withdrawal symptoms could have been easily managed,” Cook said.

Nichole Manna reports on the criminal justice system in Jacksonville. She has previously covered criminal justice at newspapers in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Tennessee, but is originally...