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Federal Prisoner Shot in the Eye Awarded $80,000

by Jeremy Pinson

On January 26, 2018, following a three-day bench trial, federal prisoner Oray Fifer was awarded $80,000 in a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) suit by a district court in Phoenix, Arizona.

In December 2011 and August 2012, Fifer filed administrative tort claims with the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Prior to his arrival at FCI Phoenix he was blind in his right eye. In September 2010, during a riot, Fifer was hit multiple times in the head and face with rubber projectiles fired by a guard, causing permanent injury. The force of the blows knocked him temporarily unconscious; when he awoke, his left eye was filled with blood. Due to a prior injury to his right eye, he was left blind.

Fifer was transported to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a detached retina, a contusion and permanent scarring in his left eye resulting in partial blindness. Following five surgeries, partial vision was restored to his left eye and full vision in his right. The BOP was found liable for Fifer’s injuries and the court awarded $75,000 for his pain and suffering plus $5,000 for future medical expenses, due to the BOP being responsible for his medical care while he remains incarcerated.

Fifer did not seek economic damages, but the district court noted that “[i]n any event,” he had “not persuasively proven loss of future earning capacity.”

Fifer was ably represented by attorneys Daniel Barr, Barry Stratford and Katherine May with the law firm of Perkins Coie LLP in Phoenix. The BOP has since appealed the court’s judgment. See: Fifer v. United States, U.S.D.C. (D. Ariz.), Case No. 2:12-cv-01753-NVW. 


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Related legal case

Fifer v. United States