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California Federal Prisoner Receives $12,500 in Dental Negligence Case

On February 19, 2003, United States District Judge Gary A. Fees sitting in the Central District of California, signed an order of dismissal after a federal prisoner and the United States settled a claim of medical and dental negligence for $12,500.

Robert Jimenez was a federal prisoner assigned to the Lompoc Prison Camp (LPC) in California in September of 2000 when he reported to the infirmary to have several teeth extracted. According to his complaint, medical and dental staff botched the extractions and left Jimenez permanently scarred. LPC dental staff "failed to exercise that degree of skill, ability and learning normally possessed and exercised by competent dentists ... thus breaching such legal duty to provide competent care to plaintiff," the suit alleged.

Jimenez said that after his teeth were pulled an infection ensued which was caused by the negligence of the defendants. The infection got so bad that it left a scar on Jimenez's face, damaged his nervous system, and caused him "pain and suffering and mental and physical distress."

Jimenez had filed suit under 42 U.S.C. Sect. 1983 and sought unspecified general and punitive damages, future medical costs, incidental expenses, and attorney's fees. In addition to the United States, Jimenez named John and Jane Does 1-100 as defendants, due to the large number of medical and supervisory staff whose identities were unknown to him at the time he filed his lawsuit.

The settlement agreement calls for Jimenez's costs and attorney's fees to be paid for out of the amount of the settlement. Jimenez was represented by the Law Offices of Robert W. Bates. See: Jimenez v. United States, No. 01-09671 GAP (SHx).

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Related legal case

Jimenez v. United States