Inmate seeks $3M for injuries

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 16, 2009

CHARLESTON – A federal inmate is seeking more than $3 million over prison employees' alleged refusal to treat the prisoner's multiple injuries, including torn ligaments in his knees and a broken finger.

Freddy S. Campbell filed a federal lawsuit against the United States of America, Carter County Detention Center, Chief Jailer of the Carter County Detention Center Randy Binion, Supervising Marshal of the United States Marshal Service John Perrine and Carter County Detention Center nurse Brenda Wilburn.

On June 19, 2005, Campbell was a pre-trial detainee under custody of Supervising Marshal John Perrine and incarcerated the Carter County Detention Center, according to the complaint. Sometime during that summer evening, Campbell sustained a knee injury when he fell from the top bunk of his cell at the center, the complaint says.

The following day, Campbell's knee was further injured, along with his head and finger, as he was transported to a hearing at U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia, the suit states.

"During the transport, Mr. Campbell was injured when the transporting officer abruptly slammed on the brakes of his vehicle, throwing Mr. Campbell and other inmates to the floor of the vehicle," the complaint says.

After he sustained his injuries, Campbell began to request medical attention daily. However, none of the defendants would provide him care, he claims.

In response to a letter Perine received requesting medical attention for the injured inmate, the supervising marshal replied he would not take Campbell to a physician without first obtaining the approval of the Marshal's Service, according to the complaint.

Finally, on Oct. 11, 2005, Campbell was allowed to see a physician, who concluded Campbell suffered from completely torn ligaments in his knees, a ruptured patella tendon and various soft tissue injuries. The physician recommended Campbell be provided with timely medical treatment, the suit states.

However, medical staff at the Carter County Detention Center, including Binion, Perrine and Wilburn, never implemented the physician's suggestions, the complaint says.

Even after Campbell was transferred to South Central Regional Jail on Nov. 16, 2005, where he stayed for two weeks, he claims he was still not provided help for his injuries. At subsequent institutions, including a federal detention center in Oklahoma and a federal corrections institution in Ohio, Campbell continued to be denied treatment, he says.

On April 25, 2006, Campbell met with an orthopedic surgeon, who recommended he undergo reconstructive surgery, according to the complaint. Still, Campbell was not provided the recommended treatment.

"Instead, he was given continual doses of IB Bufferin and Naproxen, which, on information and belief may have caused damage to his liver," the suit states.

On June 22, 2006, Campbell was transferred to the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., where another orthopedic specialist told Campbell his chances of having a successful surgery were greatly reduced because of his failure to obtain timely medical treatment, the complaint says.

Despite the specialist's warning, it was not until Oct. 6, 2006, when Campbell was admitted to a local hospital for reconstructive surgery on his injured knee.

"Defendants had a duty to provide prompt and reasonable medical care for Mr. Campbell," the suit states. "Such failure to provide any medical care or attention to Mr. Campbell for his obvious injuries constituted negligence and deliberate indifference by the defendants."

As a result of the employees' alleged failure to quickly treat Campbell's injuries, he says he now suffers from extensive damage to his right knee, a shrunken tendon and detachment of the main muscle group to the lower leg. He also will be forced to undergo additional surgeries and rehabilitative procedures, plus will continue to suffer physical pain and mental and emotional anxiety and stress, the complaint says.

Following his pleas for medical treatment, Campbell filed a claim for administrative settlement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Sept. 25, 2006. However, his claim was denied on Jan. 16, 2007, according to the complaint.

Campbell says he also filed a claim for administrative settlement with the U.S. Marshals Service on Sept. 27, 2006, but was also denied on Nov. 19.

In addition to the $3 million of actual damages, Campbell is seeking unspecified punitive damages, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Sprague W. Hazard of the Law Office of Sprague W. Hazard in Charleston will be representing him.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:09-053

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