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Nassau County sued over 63-year-old man’s 2016 jail death

The sister of a 63-year-old man who died in the Nassau jail last year has filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages, claiming jail officials and the private health care contractor they employed were negligent in his care and custody.

The suit filed Thursday by Shelly Lawrence Hendrix in U.S. District Court in Central Islip claims Samuel Lawrence died March 7, 2016 of a heart attack due to “intentional, unconstitutional, reckless and otherwise tortious conduct.”

Defendants include Nassau County, Sheriff Michael Sposato and Armor Correctional Health Care.

Carnell Foskey, the Nassau County Attorney, said the county doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Lawrence was in the East Meadow jail to serve a 10-month sentence for petty larceny.

His family said last year that a medical examiner’s report concluded that he died of massive heart attack due to hardening of his arteries. He was one of six inmates to die in the jail in 2016, according to state records.

Lawrence, who also suffered from hypertension, had a “serious medical condition,” the suit states. “He died as a result of the failures, deficiencies and deliberate indifference of the defendants.”

Lawrence’s death was cited in a now-settled suit filed against the jail by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman’s office claimed Lawrence had often sought medical care and pain relief for a hernia.

That suit contended that an Armor official barred Lawrence from receiving a consultation for the problem from medical professionals outside the jail.

Michael Sena of Manhattan, the attorney for Hendrix of Copiague, could not be reached for comment.

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