Jerry Lawler files lawsuit after son’s death in Tennessee jail

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — Wrestler Jerry Lawler filed a lawsuit against officials in Hardeman County, Tennessee, one year after the death of his son while in custody in the county's jail.

According to the complaint obtained by WREG, the wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Friday, July 26, and seeks $3 million in compensatory and an undetermined amount in punitive damages as it relates to Brian Lawler's death.

The lawsuit also called for changes at the Hardeman County Jail to "protect all inmates from future harm."

Brian Lawler was booked into the Hardeman County Jail in Bolivar on July 7, 2018 on DUI charges, evading arrest and driving with a revoked license.

Jerry Lawler said he and his wife had driven to Hardeman County with the intention of bailing Brian out of jail. While there, they say they had a meeting with Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen, who assured him that he would look after his son in jail and get him treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

They also said Brian told the sheriff about two prior suicide attempts while in jail.

“He was very convincing. He brought Brian into his office. We all sat there. He laid out a convincing case,” Lawler said. "He said you need help and we can get you help here.”

He died in the jail in 2018 in what authorities have determined was a suicide.

The lawsuit contends that Hardeman County authorities did not get Brian Lawler treatment for drug and alcohol issues and, after he was injured in a fight, put him in solitary confinement, where he used his shoelaces and bolts in his cell to commit suicide.

The family says the supervising deputy thought Lawler was just pretending, so he never even went in Brian’s cell to check on him.

"He was crying out for help for four to six hours, and no one gave him help," the Lawlers' attorney Jeff Rosenblum said.

Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen did not return multiple calls for comment Monday.

Read the full lawsuit

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