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White Texas Prisoner Assaulted By African-American Cellmate Awarded $90,000

During the week of August 10, 1998, a Texas state court awarded $90,000 to
a white prisoner who was assaulted by his African-American cellmate in the
Dallas County Jail and suffered a broken jaw.

Plaintiff Curtis Ohme, a 27-year-old white male, was arrested for driving
with a suspended license on September 25, 1995, and placed in a cell at the
Dallas County Jail with 11 other prisoners, all African-American men. After
allegedly being threatened and harassed by the other prisoners, Ohme
repeatedly asked to be moved. Jailers, however, ignored his requests. Ohme
was ultimately attacked from behind by his cellmate, a known gang member,
and pushed onto the floor.

The attack resulted in a broken mandible, a vertically cracked middle chip,
and shock. Ohme underwent facial surgery to insert three plates into his
chin and jaw, and dental surgery to remove and replace displaced teeth.
Despite being treated at a county hospital for indigent persons, Ohme's
medical bills totaled $30,000.

Ohme sued Dallas County claiming the jail violated Texas Jail Commission
Standards and Regulations with regard to hourly face-to-face observation by
jailers. Prior to trial a former county attorney was sanctioned three times
for not complying with discovery, despite the county's promise during
mediation (which ultimately failed) to do so. Ohme subsequently moved for
partial summary judgment, to which he attached an affidavit from retired
Grayson County sheriff Jack Driscoll (currently residing in Dallas) that
stated the Dallas County Jail violated statutory and common law with regard
to the way it handled Ohme.

Judge Candace Tyson granted partial summary judgment to Ohme on the issue
of liability. A jury then found in Ohme's favor and awarded him $90,000 in
actual damages. Ohme was represented by attorneys Michael Faton of Eaton &
Kemp, and Robert Collins and Thomas Jackson of Jenevein & Collins. Both
firms are located in Dallas, Texas. See: Ohme v. Dallas County, District
Court of Dallas County, Case No. 96-04122.

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Related legal case

Ohme v. Dallas County