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Federal Officials' Refusal To Treat Prisoner's Severed Tendon Settles For $22,500

Virginia federal prisoner Chris Walker brought a federal tort action against the United States in 1998 after various officials refused to treat his severed Achilles tendon. Jail and prison officials, as well as Bureau of Prisons personnel ignored the injury for over two months. The $17.6 million suit settled for $22,500.

Walker was detained at the Piedmont Regional Jail in the custody of the United States Marshal's Service (USMS). While playing basketball on June 20, 1997, Walker fell and completely severed his left Achilles tendon. Jail officials allegedly denied all requests for treatment and Walker called the USMS for help. The USMS ignored his pleas for assistance for 19 days. On July 19, 1997, Walker was placed at FCI Petersburg. During the intake process his injury was ignored once again. He was required to hobble up and down stairs, walk a mile or more to the chow hall, and was refused ground level housing. The staff dismissed his cries for help as "inmate bitching." Walker did not receive surgery until September 29, 1997. He brought the action under the Federal Tort Claims Act and additionally alleged 42 U.S.C. § 1983 violations. He claimed deliberate and malicious indifference to his serious medical needs, resulting in irreparable damage.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia approved the settlement in 1999 with no admission of guilt or liability. The parties agreed to pay their own costs and fees. See: Walker v. United States, USDC, E.D. Va., Case No. 98 154 AM (Feb. 19, 1999).

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Related legal case

Walker v. United States

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