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Washington DOC Settles Failure to Protect Case for $13,000

On March 16, 2002, the Washing-ton Department of Corrections (WA DOC) settled an Eighth Amendment complaint for failure-to-protect at the Washington State Reformatory (WSR) where a high security prisoner was attacked and seriously injured by another prisoner known to want to kill him.

Ryan Bartlett, a maximum security prisoner at Clallam Bay Correctional Center's Intensive Management Unit (IMU), was moved to the segregation unit of WSR. While working there as a tier tender, he was "gassed" with feces and urine by another prisoner who announced he wanted to kill Bartlett. Although this event precipitated a keep-away order in their files, the aggressor was soon returned to Bartlett's tier, resulting in their having a common yard period, albeit in separate cages. During one such outing, the aggressor scaled the 14 ft. fences isolating them and attacked Bartlett with a shank, inflicting severe lung and liver injuries. After much delay, he was finally taken to an outside hospital for emergency 3-1/2 hour surgery to close his wounds. Nine days later, he was transported to Shelton Correctional Center's IMU, with no further medical attention or pain medication.

On January 11, 2000, Bartlett sued, initially in pro per, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming negligent custody staff for knowingly failing to protect him and naming medical staff for recklessly disregarding his serious injuries when delaying his outside medical treatment. Bartlett demanded a jury trial and sought actual and punitive damages against eight named defendants.

Later represented by attorney Jonathan Winemiller, Bartlett settled his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint for $13,000. Terms of the agreement included out-of-state placement consistent with the Interstate Corrections Compact and/or the Western Corrections Compact in RCW Title 72. The funds were to be deposited into his prison trust account without the deductions of RCW 72.09.480. However, per § 807 of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3626, any restitution legally owed by Bartlett shall first be paid in full, and any other debits on his trust account may be paid per-DOC policy. See: Bartlett v. Lehman, No. CO0-W5 C, Bartlett v. Morgan, No. C00-5748 RJB, Bartlett v. Zavodsky, No. CO 1-5109 JKA, United States District Court (WD WA).

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Related legal cases

Bartlett v. Lehman

Bartlett v. Morgan

Bartlett v. Zavodsky