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$75,000 Settlement for Shutting Off Water in Seattle Jail Prisoner’s Cell

Washington State’s King County Jail has settled a pre-trial detainee’s claim that he was unconstitutionally punished. The Jail settled the matter for $75,000. The basis of the claim was a guard shutting off the water in the prisoner’s cell for 30 hours.

Sidney Charles Randall was housed on the tenth floor of the Jail on August 5, 2005. Guard Theodore Larson let Ran-dall out of his cell twice that day. The first was for a seventy minute recreation period. The second time was for forty min-utes, with an option to take a shower or use the telephone.

After that second time period, Randall was escorted to court. When he returned, he asked Larson to allow him to take a shower because he missed the opportunity by going to court.
When Larson refused, Randall said he would wash in his cell. Larson told him twice that he would not, and when Randall said he couldn’t stop him, Larson shut the cell’s water off. He then told Randall, “You’re going to burn in hell, you better take some barbeque sauce with you, it’s going to be hot.”

Over the next 30 hours, Randall complained that he was thirsty and his cell smelled bad from the accumulation of feces and urine in his toilet. After 30 hours, Randall fainted. A nurse revived him with drinking water and his cell water was turned back on. Randall claimed he injured his back from the fall when he fainted, providing documentation to support it.

He filed a civil rights action and both parties moved for summary judgment. The Washington federal district court granted Randall’s motion and denied Larson’s. The Court then appointed Randall pro bono counsel to prepare for a dam-ages trial.

On February 2, 2009, Randall received $75,000 to settle the matter. He was represented by Perkins Coie. The docu-ments related to this care are on PLN’s website. See: Randall v. Larson, USDC, W.D. Washington, Case No: C06-0798-JCC.

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Related legal case

Randall v. Larson