CHARLESTON -- A Mount Olive Correctional Complex inmate is suing the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority for allegedly failing to protect him from assault and violating his civil rights.

Sgt. James Elza, Edgar L. Lawson, John L. King II and Terry L. Miller, who all are employed by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Tracy W. Wolfingbarger was incarcerated at Potomac Highlands Regional Jail from July 8, 2007, until Nov. 13, 2008, according to a complaint filed Feb.22 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Wolfingbarger claims on May 12, 2008, he was punched in the face by another inmate and taken to the medical unit, where he received three butterfly stitches.

On May 16, 2008, Wolfingbarger claims another inmate asked if he was incarcerated because of a sexual offense, which he was. On May 22, 2008, Wolfingbarger was taken to the institutional law library to eat lunch when an officer advised him he could not return to the A-Pod because he had heard another inmate threaten to hit him.

Wolfingbarger spoke with Elza, his supervisor, about the inmate's threat and requested to be moved back to Section 1 of B-Pod, where he believed his physical safety would be better protected, according to the suit.

Elza advised Wolfingbarger there was no other housing unit to which he could be moved at the moment and permitted him to return to his housing unit in A-Pod, according to the suit.

On May 25, 2008, Wolfingbarger claims while watching television, the inmate who had previously threatened him exited his cell, picked up the television remote, switched the channel and walked behind him, as if walking away.

Wolfingbarger claims the inmate then hit him "on the left side of his face with enough force to knock him from the the hard, concrete floor."

Wolfingbarger claims he requested the appropriate law enforcement agency be contacted so criminal charges could be lodged against the inmate for battery, but jail personnel refused to do so.

Wolfingbarger claims the defendants failed to protect him from assault, violated his civil rights, and violated his constitutional rights not to be housed with convicted prisoners when he was a pre-trial detainee.

Wolfingbarger is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is representing himself.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-329

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