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$10,000 Settles Kansas Suit Over Fall From Upper Bunk

In June 2017, Shawnee County, Kansas agreed to pay $10,000 to a woman who fell from an upper bunk in her jail cell, resulting in “severe and permanent” injuries.

When Giusepinna Lidia Rogers was booked into the jail, she told staff members that she could not safely climb up and down from an upper bunk due to diabetic neuropathy in both her feet. She was told that no lower bunk was available and she would be assigned an upper bunk; her repeated requests to sleep on a mattress on the floor were denied.

On July 2, 2010, Rogers fell from the bunk several times, striking the edge of the cell toilet and the floor and allegedly sustaining injuries that included fractures to her nose and a rib, as well as “stress, anxiety, anger and fear.” With the assistance of Topeka attorney Eric Kjorlie, she filed a lawsuit in state court in 2012 that alleged premises defect, failure to adequately train staff and negligence.

Initially dismissed by the trial court, the dismissal was reversed by the Court of Appeals in a lengthy ruling on March 27, 2015. “Resolving all facts and inferences that may reasonably be drawn from the evidence in favor of Rogers, a jury could find from the evidence that the defendants breached the duty of care jail employees owed Rogers,” the appellate court wrote. See: Rogers v. Bd. of Comm’rs, 345 P.3d 295 (Kan. Ct. App. 2015), review denied.

After five years of litigation, the county agreed to settle the case for $10,000. See: Rogers v. Board of Commissioners of Shawnee County, Kansas, Shawnee Co. Dist. Ct. Div. 1, Case No. 2012-CV-712. 

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Related legal case

Rogers v. Board of Commissioners of Shawnee County, Kansas