Man says he was severely beaten in jail

By Annie Cosby | Oct 28, 2014

CHARLESTON – A man is suing over claims he was severely beaten while incarcerated in a West Virginia jail.

Anthony Scott Merritt filed a lawsuit Sept. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court against West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, correctional officer Lusher, and correctional officer Blankenship, citing negligence.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 17, 2012, while an inmate at the Southwestern Regional Jail in Logan County, Merritt was brutally beaten by an inmate with whom he was placed in a cell and two others. The complaint states the man Merritt shared a cell with had previously been placed in segregation for two prior assaults on inmates, and during the nearly hour-long attack both defendant correctional officers failed to intervene.

Merritt says he sustained injuries including a broken orbital socket, broken cheekbone and nerve damage, and required stitches to his lip in addition to his ear being almost completely ripped off. He also alleges that he was informed by an EMT that when an ambulance transported him to St. Mary's Medical Center, he died and had to be resuscitated.

The defendants are accused of willful and wanton conduct, violating the plaintiff's constitutional rights, violating the West Virginia Human Rights Act, negligence and abuse of process.

In addition, the jail is accused of failing to properly train its employees.

Merritt seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

He is represented by attorney Matthew S. Criswell of Criswell French in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie L. Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1706

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