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Pennsylvania: $65,000 Settlement for Brain Injury Caused by Guard’s Excessive Force

Pennsylvania: $65,000 Settlement for Brain Injury Caused by Guard’s Excessive Force

by David Reutter

Pennsylvania’s Erie County Prison (ECP) agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a federal lawsuit claiming a guard used excessive force on a prisoner, causing brain damage.

Jerome McCallion was housed in ECP’s Restrictive Housing Unit in May 2011 when guard Brian Ames came to his cell. McCallion, held on the upper tier, expected to be taken to the yard for recreation. After he was handcuffed and released from his cell, he began to proceed downstairs. Another guard asked what he was doing, and upon being told he had been released to get a shower, McCallion headed back up the steps.

Ames “became agitated” and yelled something to the effect of, “I’m not going to put up with this anymore.” When McCallion reached the top of the stairs, Ames grabbed his handcuffs with one hand and put his other hand on the back of “McCallion’s head and slammed it into the wall.”

This caused McCallion to immediately black out. When he came to, he found himself just inside his cell with Ames taking him to the floor. At no time did he resist, he stated.

A nurse examined McCallion, administering ice and Motrin for a “goose egg” on his head. On May 16, 2013, he was sent to a hospital for evaluation and treatment of a persistent headache. A CT scan indicated he had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and he underwent two surgeries to cauterize an artery and remove pooling blood.

McCallion was released from the hospital on May 23 but suffered permanent damage – he experienced seizures and had neurological problems that included difficulty speaking. He was released from prison on September 1, 2011.

An honorably-discharged Vietnam veteran, McCallion remained homeless after his release. Represented by attorneys John F. Mizner and Joseph M. Kanfer, he filed suit on February 13, 2013; following two settlement conferences, county officials agreed to resolve the case for $65,000, inclusive of attorney fees. See: McCallion v. Ames, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Penn.), Case No. 1:13-cv-00050-SPB.

Additional source: Erie Times-News


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Related legal case

McCallion v. Ames