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Class Action Settlement Reached on Dysentery Lawsuit

The District of Columbia settled a prisoner class action lawsuit after a large population of jail prisoners developed shigellosis, a bacterial illness, due to a malfunctioning dishwasher in the jail.

At the D.C. jail in late January through early February, 1996, 616 prisoners had symptoms of shigellosis (bacillary dysentery). The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs found the dishwasher was operating at 165 degrees F, and did not reach the “sanitizing temperature of 180 degrees.”

The prisoners’ complaint alleged symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever due to food trays being inadequately sanitized. A settlement was reached September 6, 2001 with an award settlement of either $125 or $250 commensurate with schedule submitted by Defendants. Prisoners were represented by Washington, D.C. attorney Daniel M. Schember. See: Robert Bassil, et al., v. District of Columbia, U.S. District Court of Columbia, Case No. 97-2021.

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Related legal case

Robert Bassil, et al., v. District of Columbia