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NV Prisoner with Hand Injury Settles for Used TV, Medical Evaluation and $40.70 in Copying Fees

by Joe Watson

Robert Finley, a Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) prisoner, settled in August 2008 for a used television, $40.70 in legal copying fees and a medical evaluation with follow-up treatment for the hand he injured when a prison guard allegedly slammed it in a cell door.

Finley said that a guard named Thorn shut his hand in a cell door, refused to make a report, and did not immediately refer him to receive medical treatment. Finley also alleged that NDOC provider Dr. Bruce Bannister failed to refer him to a specialist and that NDOC Director Howard Skolnick did not investigate the condition of Finley’s hand to ensure that he received proper and adequate medical treatment.

Finley sued NDOC, Thorn, Bannister, Skolnick and other NDOC personnel in U.S. District Court alleging negligent treatment, deliberate indifference, and medical malpractice in violation of his rights under the First, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Skolnick and the other defendants responded that Finley’s complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief might be granted; they were immune from liability; they acted at all times in good faith towards Finley; Finley’s negligence caused or contributed to any injuries he might have sustained; the negligence of third parties caused or contributed to any injuries Finley might have sustained; and that Finley failed to mitigate his damages.

Skolnick and the others also asserted that Finley did not exhaust his administrative remedies within NDOC and that Finley was barred from relief by the doctrine of laches; the doctrine of estoppel; the doctrine of unclean hands; and by applying the statute of limitations.

The settlement stipulated that, in return for Finley dismissing his suit with prejudice, Skolnick and the others agreed to have Finley’s hand condition evaluated and that he would receive any follow-up as needed and recommended. The settlement also provided that Finley was to receive one used television and that legal copying fees Finley owed to NDOC would be forgiven on his prison account. Judge Edward C. Reed, Jr. subsequently dismissed Finley’s suit.

Award Details: Settlement; in return for Finley dismissing the action with prejudice Finley’s hand condition was to be evaluated, Finley was to receive any follow up as recommended, Finley was to receive one used television and $40.70 in legal copying fees owed to the N.D.O.C. would be forgiven on Finley’s prison account. See: Finley v. Nevada DOC, U.S.D.C. (D. Nev.), Case No. 3:08-CV-00099.

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Related legal case

Finley v. Nevada DOC