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Pennsylvania Jail Prisoner Assaulted With Hot Water Awarded $50,000

On December 15, 2006, a federal court awarded $50,000 to a prisoner who was burned with hot water by another prisoner while in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, jail.

Peter Muse claimed that on April 23, 2004, while he slept, another prisoner assaulted him with boiling water that the other prisoner heated with a "stinger," a form of immersion heater. Muse suffered second-degree burns over 30 percent of his body and was kept in a burn unit for 10 days. Some of the resultant scars may be permanent.

Muse, a pre-trial detainee at the time of the assault, sued the City in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania claiming the City violated his constitutional right to be free from serious risk of harm. Muse specifically claimed the City was aware of the danger stingers posed since there had been 10 similar assaults in the preceding 5 years, yet failed to take any preventative action. In addition, Muse argued, it was well known around the jail that several prisoners wanted to fight him. The City contended it was not liable and that the assailant was the sole cause for Muse's injuries.

After a two day trial a jury found for Muse and awarded him $50,000. Judge Legrome Davis presided.

Muse was represented by attorneys Jonathan H. Feinberg and David Rudovsky of the Philadelphia law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, & Feinberg. See: Muse v. City of Philadelphia, USDC ED PA, Case No. 05-1554.

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Related legal case

Muse v. City of Philadelphia