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D.C. Jail Guard Suicidal after Feces Thrown in Face, Sues DOC

D.C. Jail Guard Suicidal after Feces Thrown in Face, Sues DOC

A former guard with the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC) sued his ex-employer in November 2012, claiming he developed PTSD and suicidal tendencies after a prisoner threw feces in his face.

Guard Walter Sampson’s altercation with the prisoner actually occurred in August 2006. Since then he took two years off work, underwent psychiatric treatment, returned to work and was subsequently admitted to a D.C. hospital on suicide watch.

Sampson’s lawsuit claims the DOC refused “reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental limitations” he experienced after the feces-throwing incident, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While taking two years of disability for PTSD, Sampson saw a psychiatrist weekly – and then monthly – until he was cleared to return to work in a position that excluded contact with prisoners. He returned to the DOC in September 2008, escorting contractors to their work sites.

Sampson was reassigned twice over the following three months – first to the midnight shift at DOC headquarters, then transporting prisoners to and from the D.C. jail. Two days after he began the latter assignment, on January 6, 2009, his psychiatrist declared him a danger to himself and Sampson was admitted to a hospital with suicidal tendencies the following month.

In an amended complaint filed on March 26, 2013, Sampson alleged “that the DOC denied him a reasonable accommodation in violation of the ADA by removing him from a position where he did not have contact with inmates.”

He is suing for lost wages over a four-year period and compensatory damages for emotional distress.

In March 2014, the district court denied the DOC’s motion to dismiss, finding service of process was timely and substituting the District of Columbia for the D.C. Department of Corrections, which lacked the capacity to be sued.

The case remains pending. See: Sampson v. DC DOC, U.S.D.C. (D. D.C.), Case No. 1:12-cv-01933-RWR.


Additional source: Washington Examiner


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Related legal case

Sampson v. DC DOC