In March 2005, a jury in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, awarded $60,000 to a state prisoner who was shocked by a faulty light fixture in his cell.
As Michael Paolillo arose from a nap to urinate in his prison cell, he placed his right hand on the wall behind the toilet. His hand brushed against a light fixture, which shocked him and knocked him to the ground. A guard later found him lying unconscious on the floor, his face bloody. A nurse was summoned and Paolillo was transferred to the prison infirmary.
Paolillo, 30, remained in the infirmary for a week. He suffered bruising to his right eye, wrist, and elbow, and to his left thigh. The shock also caused nausea, dizziness, and vision and hearing problems. Paolillo recovered from all the injuries except for calcifications that developed on his thigh and arm. Surgery was recommended but never performed.
At trial prison officials contended that Paolillo had tampered with the fixture. However, several guards testified that Paolillo had not tampered with it; rather, maintenance personnel had dismantled the fixture after Paolillo was removed from the cell.
Paolillo was represented by Waltham attorney John N. Santangelo. Judge Janet L. Sanders presided. See: Paolillo v. Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Suffolk County Superior Court, Case No. SUCV2000-03203.
Source: The Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island Verdict Reporter
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Related legal case
Paolillo v. Massachusetts Department of Correction
|Suffolk County Superior Court, Case No. SUCV2000-0
|State Trial Court