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Judge allows Macomb jail death lawsuit to move forward

A federal judge is allowing the bulk of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who died in the Macomb County jail to go forward.

David Stojcevski died in June 2014, after being arrested for failing to pay fines stemming from traffic infractions. His cause of death was determined to be prescription drug withdrawal.

His family’s lawsuit accused county officials, jail staff, and the private contractor who provides medical services at the jail, of not acting to prevent Stojcevski’s  death, even as his health clearly deteriorated and he lost 50 pounds in about two weeks.

Judge Linda Parker ruled this week that there are legal grounds to proceed to trial on three of the four counts charged in the family’s lawsuit. She dismissed one count that alleged denial of medical treatment for serious medical needs.

Parker also dismissed claims against a number of specific defendants, including some county and contracted employees.

However, she said some of those defendants could be re-named later on if more evidence is uncovered. Both the county itself and Sheriff Anthony Wickersham remain as defendants.

Macomb County has denied any wrongdoing in Stojcevski’s death, and says it plans to fight the case at trial.

Parker also dismissed charges filed by David Stojcevski’s brother, Vladimir, as part of the same lawsuit.

Vladimir Stojcevski was held at the Macomb County jail at the same time as his brother, and claims to have been mistreated. But Parker left the door open for Vladimir to re-file his case separately. 

Vladimir Stojcevski's attorney, Harold Perakis, said his client does intend to re-file. "Now things can really get started" on both cases, Perakis said.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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