Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Federal Prisoner Receives $1,000 Settlement in Food Poisoning Case

On April 2, 1997, the United States agreed to settle a lawsuit in which a federal prisoner alleged she was poisoned by the food in the prison chow hall and then received inadequate medical care afterwards. The documents relating to the lawsuit and settlement were just recently released by the government pursuant to a longstanding Freedom of Information Act request filed by PLN.

According to the lawsuit and a Complaint for Damages filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Janet Wilson was a prisoner at the Federal Prison Camp (FPC) in Alderson, West Virginia, when, on September 12, 1994, she felt sick after eating a meal that included eggs in the FPC chow hall. The next day, Wilson reported to the infirmary complaining of diarrhea, vomiting and a fever. Medical staff gave Wilson some medication for the diarrhea and sent her back to her cell. Over the next few days, her condition worsened to the point that she was too weak to walk. Wilson says she returned to the clinic three times after her first visit but received no further treatment.

Finally, six days after getting sick, Wilson was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. There she was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and salmonella poisoning. Wilson was treated at the hospital and released the next day.

It was later revealed that Wilson was actually the fifth case of food poisoning at FPC in two days and that there was an "ongoing salmonella outbreak" at the prison. The lawsuit claims that prison staff knew or should have known due to the other cases of food poisoning that Wilson was similarly inflicted, and that they negligently failed to provide adequate medical care. Two other FPC Alderson prisoners also filed lawsuits relating to the salmonella poisoning there.

Nearly two years after Wilson submitted her lawsuit -- filed under 28 U.S.C. Sect. 2672, et seq. -- the parties agreed to settle for $1,000. The United States specifically denied any liability for medical negligence, and the settlement amount was inclusive of all costs and fees. Wilson filed the lawsuit and represented herself without a lawyer. See: Wilson v. United States of America, Case No. 1:95-0447 (U.S.D.C. S.D. WV).

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Wilson v. United States of America