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Family Suing Jail, Health Care Provider After Inmate's Death

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The family of an inmate who died in a Pittsburgh jail earlier this year is suing the jail and its health care provider.

Tiara Smart, one of the children of 39-year-old Frank Smart Jr., of Pittsburgh, filed the wrongful death lawsuit Friday against Allegheny County Jail and Corizon Health Inc. over Smart's death.

The complaint alleges that Smart's requests for medication were ignored and that he was handcuffed and shackled while having a seizure. He was taken to UPMC Mercy, where he died shortly after midnight on Jan. 5.

George Kontos, Tiara Smart's attorney, said the jail failed its duty to provide for Smart's safety.

The county medical examiner ruled this week that Smart died from his seizure disorder, but that being restrained was a "significant condition" in his death. The manner of death remains undetermined.

A Corizon spokesman said the Tennessee-based firm hasn't seen the complaint, but stands by its statement Thursday that Smart's medicines were ordered within 10 minutes of his arrival at a medical intake center and administered properly.

Kontos, however, said that Smart's death from the seizure disorder "certainly belies their contention that he was appropriately medicated at the appropriate time."

Smart's death and others in the past 18 months prompted the county to not renew Corizon's contract past its Aug. 31 expiration date. Allegheny Health Network, a Pittsburgh-based hospital chain owned by health insurer Highmark Inc., will take over Sept. 1.

A county spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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