State DOC Wants Hilberling Estate Lawsuit Dropped

Thursday, September 20th 2018, 7:07 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Department of Corrections is saying a lawsuit filed on behalf of Amber Hilberling's estate should be dropped. 

9/19/2018 Related Story: State DOC Sued By Estate Of Tulsa Woman Who Committed Suicide In Prison

It says the Department of Corrections failed to keep her safe before her 2016 suicide.

Hilberling died in prison while serving A 25-year sentence for pushing her husband to his death at the University Club Tower apartments.

The Department of Corrections argues the lawsuit should be dropped.

In two weeks, a judge will consider both sides of the case before making a decision.

In October 2016, the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Amber Hilberling died after she hanged herself in her cell at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center near McLoud. 

Her estate claims no prison official ever saw her hanging only the inmates who cut her body free. 

A lawsuit alleges corrections officials knew she was suicidal but failed to take adequate steps to keep her safe.

It also claims video surveillance at the prison wasn't working and the Department of Corrections allowed a predator inmate to extort or manipulate Hilberling the day she died. 

"We believe that there were failures. And we believe that absent those failures, Amber would still be alive," said plaintiff Attorney Steven Terrill.  

In a 2016 interview with Dr. Phil, Hilberling's parents questioned how their daughter died. 

The DOC said it will not comment on ongoing litigation. 

In its motion to dismiss the case, the DOC said it is not clear if the lawsuit is alleging the department's failure to monitor Hilberling allowed her to commit suicide, or if the department failed to properly provide medical care or if the lawsuit is alleging another inmate killed Hilberling.
The motion also says the lawsuit fails to provide necessary facts for the prison to defend itself. 

A decision on whether to dismiss the case could be made at the upcoming hearing.