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South Carolina Jail Pays Prisoners $80,000 for Failure to Prevent/Treat MRSA

$80,000 to South Carolina Jail Prisoners for Failure to Prevent and Treat MRSA

South Carolina’s Greenville County has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle 25 prisoners’ lawsuit that claims jail officials failed to take preventive measures to prevent the spread of an outbreak of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) at the Greenville County Jail (GCJ). The prisoners also claimed that the officials failed to treat their MRSA infection when they requested medical care.

Prisoners at GCJ began complaining to jail officials in July of 2005 that they had sores on their bodies and were experiencing significant pain and suffering that was associated with necrotic flesh wounds, which were swollen and painful. No medical care was forthcoming despite numerous requests for treatment over a few months.

Although jail officials knew that MRSA was spreading throughout GCJ, they did not advise prisoners of this fact or take any precautions to stop its spread. Moreover, the County violated state law by failing to report the infectious outbreak.

It was only after a news media story broke that the prisoners were going to sue that jail officials took action. They then “made some cursory efforts to clean the facility, installing soap dispensers that were not refilled, cleaning hallways and cell blocks, and making one superficial attempt to wipe down the cells with a bleach solution directly prior to the visit by the Plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Robert Greifinger.

In March 2008, the parties entered into a settlement of $80,000 for all of the 25 prisoner plaintiffs. The county denied wrongdoing. The prisoners were represented by attorneys Milford Oliver Howard and Thomas W. Dunaway. See: Boyd v. County of Greenville, U.S.D.C. (S.C.), Case no. 6:06-cv-02339.

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Related legal case

Boyd v. County of Greenville