HUNTINGTON — The mother of a homicide victim has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a husband and wife, along with the wife's employers, whom she claims were responsible for her son's death when he was shot outside of their home in 2015.
Tammy Clements, mother of Joshua Martin and administrator of his estate, filed a civil lawsuit in March in Cabell County Circuit Court against Micah LeMaster and Dr. Elizabeth Mott. LeMaster had been previously acquitted of criminal negligence in the shooting death of Martin.
After two weeks of testimony in November, a jury found LeMaster not criminally guilty in the March 18, 2015, shooting death of Martin, 21. LeMaster shot Martin — an allegedly naked intruder — at his Donald Avenue home.
Prosecutors had felt the use of force was more than necessary and charged LeMaster with first-degree murder. Prosecutors had alleged Martin was confused at the time and seeking help.
The case explored many aspects of a resident's right to defend his home and included expert witnesses on self-defense issues.
Also named in the suit is Mott's employers: Marshall University Internal Medicine Residency Program; Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; Marshall University Internal Medicine; Marshall Health; Marshall University; Cabell Huntington Hospital; and five John Does.
Answers to Clements' claims have not been filed.
On the night of the shooting, Mott said she was awakened to loud banging outside the home and thought multiple people were outside. She woke her husband, grabbed her gun and went upstairs to her children, leaving her phone behind.
According to testimony, Martin was wounded twice as LeMaster shot three times through his front door and a closed screen door. The third bullet struck a neighboring home. Mott said she ran outside to see a man with an angry look on his face cursing at her husband and fired her gun, she testified.
Martin left the property as LeMaster exited the home, but turned back toward the LeMaster property after a period of time in a neighbor's yard. Prosecutors alleged Martin could not escape from behind the neighbor's yard due to a high fence and a long drop-off into a creek behind the home.
The couple held Martin at gunpoint until letting him go at the advice of a dispatcher, who was called after the first shots were fired. After letting him go, the sound of four rapid shots is heard, all which hit Martin, before the couple went back into their home.
It is unclear whether LeMaster chased Martin, but he was placed by Mott outside his fence and yards to the north of the gate entrance to their yard, giving no aid to Martin.
Testimony from Martin's friends states he had spent the night before the shooting at a West Huntington party, where drugs had been ingested. He was seen leaving the party on foot after an argument with his girlfriend. How Martin got from West Huntington to the Enslow Park neighborhood in less than 30 minutes the night of his death remains unclear.
According to the lawsuit, at the time of the shooting, Mott was employed by Marshall University Internal Medical Residency Program and would receive work-related telephone calls and text messages regarding patients throughout the night.
Since she received at least one text message on the night of Martin's death, she was working in the scope of her employment, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit states Mott left her home, fired shots at Martin and failed to render aid to him in a neglectful, reckless and intentional manner, which led to Martin's death. The suit states Mott had intentionally failed to render medical aid or assistance to Martin by failing to timely contact authorities and that she "failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider."
In the claim against LeMaster, the lawsuit states he "acted willfully, wantonly, recklessly and grossly indifferent toward Martin."
Clements is demanding a trial by jury. The case has been assigned to Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson.
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