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Oklahoma Wrongful Death Leads to New State Legislation


Wrongful death lawsuits can bring vital compensation that helps grieving families move forward after the often-senseless death of a loved one. However, sometimes these tragedies unveil issues that can be reduced or prevented through new legislation.

This was the case after the death of 20-year-old Stacy Dawn Murphy, who was one of three people to die within nine months during treatment at a local substance abuse facility. According to KRJH-TV in Tulsa, Murphy returned to the facility after they granted her a one-day leave of absence for which she did not qualify. That night, the facility sent her to the withdrawal unit, where she remained unsupervised and without a doctor on duty until she died of an overdose.

Murphy’s father, Robert Murphy, takes some comfort in the May 2013 signing of Stacy’s Law, legislation named after his daughter that includes stricter oversight provisions for these facilities. Stacy’s Law states that:

  • Only community-based crisis centers certified to comply with rules developed by the Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can receive and treat patients.
  • Non-certified facilities that continue to operate face misdemeanor criminal charges.
  • Certification is limited to a 36-month period, subject to renewal.

The effort to use the senseless death of his daughter to fight for changes that positively impact other people has helped Robert Murphy create a positive outcome out of a tragic loss. However, families who suffer the senseless loss of a loved one also need to seek justice. While no amount of money can truly compensate families for a preventable death, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help families pursue the funds that can help them move forward. Contact us today.