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  • Writer's picturePhil Griffis

City of Kemah Responds to Jail Suicide Lawsuit

Chad Silvis died in the Kemah City Jail in 2014. Soon afterwards his father sued the City of Kemah and one of the police officers involved with Mr. Silvis’ detention.  According to the suit, Silvis was found, impaired and threatening suicide on the Kemah Bridge.   The police arrived, arrested him and transported him to jail.  The suit alleges that, instead of providing Silvis appropriate medical and psychiatric care, he was placed in a solitary jail cell, “clearly in distress and wanting to complete his suicide attempt”.  Soon afterwards, he was found in his cell, after apparently after hanging himself with a blanket.  The suit claims that the department violated Silva’s civil/constitutional rights and committed acts of negligence and gross negligence.

The officer and police department have filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the father’s suit fails to allege sufficient facts to allow the case to go forward.  The arresting officer alleges that he prevented Silvis from committing suicide by wrestling him from the bridge.   He then reported Silvis’ condition to a mental health professional, who directed the department to place him in a holding cell until he was sober enough to consult with the professional.  He claims that emergency medical service attendants evaluated Silvis and determined that there was no urgent need for him to receive medical care, and was healthy enough to be detained in a cell which, the officer claims, was systematically monitored personally by officers and via video.

United States District Judge George Hanks could rule on the motion at any time.


Phil Griffis obtained his first jury verdict in 1990, when he convinced a jury that a customer’s fall at his client’s store did not cause the customer’s aspiration pneumonia and stroke. In the years since he has continued to win in courtrooms across the State of Texas.

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