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Kentucky Prisoner Injured In Transport Vehicle Awarded $9,000

On June 3, 2005, a Kentucky jury awarded $9,000 to a prisoner who was injured while riding in a jail transport vehicle.

Plaintiff Steven Jarmon was imprisoned in a Louisville jail on robbery charges. On February 15, 2000, Jarmon, 38, and several other prisoners boarded a paddy wagon for appearances at the Hall of Justice.

During transport several prisoners complained about the jail food. Guard Larry Smith, the driver, responded that he would be eating steak that night. The prisoners then let loose a barrage of insults.

Seeking revenge, Smith drove erratically, causing the prisoners in the rear to slide around. The prisoners, who wore shackles and handcuffs, were not buckled in.

Upon the vehicle's arrival at the Metro Jail, Jarmon was evaluated by a nurse and taken to the emergency room. He was later treated for soft-tissue injuries.

Jarmon sued jail officials alleging that Smith recklessly operated the vehicle, negligently or intentionally, because he had been insulted by the prisoners. Jarmon sought damages for pain and suffering, which are capped at $20,000.

Smith claimed the occupants could not see outside the van and therefore couldn't appreciate the road hazards and that the van jerked when he ran over a bump. Much of Smith's testimony consisted of I don't recall." Smith no longer works at the jail.

The jury found that Smith negligently operated the vehicle and awarded Jarmon $9,000 for pain and suffering. A consistent judgment followed. Smith was represented by Richard L. Decker of The Lohman Law Offices in Louisville. See: Jarmon v. Metro Corrections, Jefferson Circuit Court, Case No. 02-1251.

Source: Kentucky Trial Court Review

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Related legal case

Jarmon v. Metro Corrections