On May 17, 1995, Joseph Johnson was incarcerated in the Spokane County Jail. That evening a fight broke out between two prisoners, and Mr. Johnson assisted jailers in quelling the disturbance. In the process of breaking up the fight, Mr. Johnson was hit in the left eye.
Within 45 minutes, Mr. Johnson began having a migraine headache, felt nauseated and his vision was blurred. After reporting these symptoms to jail staff, Mr. Johnson was informed that he would be transferred to the Washington Corrections Center (WCC), in Shelton, Washington, the following day and would receive treatment for his injury there.
Upon arrival at the WCC, Mr. Johnson informed medical personnel of his injury and symptoms. He was told that an appointment with an ophthalmologist would be arranged. Although Mr. Johnson continued to complain of deteriorating vision and headaches, he was not seen by a specialist until June 19, 1995.
The specialist determined that Mr. Johnson had suffered a retinal detachment and immediately recommended surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful because the DOC had waited too long before referring Mr. Johnson to an ophthalmologist. He is now blind in his left eye.
Mr. Johnson sued the DOC for 3 million dollars, but ultimately settled for $180,000. He was represented by attorney Dan Johnson of Spokane. See: Johnson v. State of Washington, No. 97-2-05055-9 (Pierce County Superior Court, Sept. 10, 1997).
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Related legal case
Johnson v. State of Washington
|Pierce Co. Sup. Ct. No. 97-2-05055-9 (1997)
|State Trial Court