- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a deceased Mississippi inmate’s mother against Forrest County, Sheriff Billy McGee, a corrections officer and the jail nurse after the woman’s son died in custody.

Devin Daniel Fortune was jailed for allegedly stabbing his transsexual partner to death in Hattiesburg in 2009. Fortune was held on a $1 million bond for a murder charge related to the death of Archie Avis Brooks.

Fortune’s mother alleged in the lawsuit that her son complained of a sinus infection, fever, problems breathing and a sore throat on March 28, 2011, for which he was prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines for 10 days.

Devin Fortune died during the early morning hours of April 1, 2011, from what his death certificate lists as “acute and chronic pneumonia.”

A Mississippi federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2013. The judge said Patricia Fortune failed to prove that jail officials acted with “deliberate indifference” to her son’s medical needs.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday court records show that on the same day Fortune requested medical care, a nurse examined him, called a physician and administered medication. The panel said testimony was that the sheriff called for an ambulance as soon as he realized Fortune was in distress and helped Fortune to the ambulance.

The panel said Fortune’s medical care did not fall short of constitutional standards.

The panel said it agreed with the Mississippi judge that the county workers were protected by state sovereign immunity, which prohibits jail inmates from suing governmental employees who were acting within the scope of their employment.

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