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West Virginia Prisoner Wins Over $905,000 in FTCA Claim

West Virginia Prisoner Wins Over $905,000 in FTCA Claim

by Derek Gilna

A federal prisoner was seriously and permanently injured when, after fleeing from a prison fight, he slipped in a pool of blood and slammed into a metal railing. Following a two-day bench trial in Wheeling, West Virginia, prisoner Terry Jones was awarded $905,583.04 in damages in April 2014.

Jones, 41, who was in good health prior to the incident, was awarded the damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the substandard medical care and pain and suffering he experienced while in the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). According to his attorneys, “the BOP totally mismanaged his medical care, leaving [him] permanently disabled and in need of care for the rest of his life.”

The FTCA is utilized by prisoners seeking redress for injuries suffered at the hands of the federal government, separate and distinct from federal civil rights cases. The FTCA has a number of conditions precedent that must be fulfilled before filing a claim, and mismanaged medical care is one of the categories of possible recovery. [See: PLN, March 2014, p.44].

“We are expecting the BOP to try to lower the sum in exchange for foregoing an appeal, but FTCA awards are reviewed [only] on a ‘clear error’ standard,” said Deborah Golden with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The defendants decided not to appeal the judgment, however, and in May 2014 the district court awarded an additional $15,325.71 in costs against the BOP. Jones was represented by the Washington, D.C. law firm of Winston & Strawn with assistance from attorney Ivy Ann Finkenstadt of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, now with the Legal Aid Justice Center. See: Jones v. United States, U.S.D.C. (N.D. W.Va.), Case No. 2:11-cv-00094-JPB-JES.

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Related legal case

Jones v. United States