West Virginia Record

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Former Southern Regional inmate claims being labeled 'rat' by corrections officers was reason for his beating

State Court

By Marian Johns | Nov 12, 2019

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CHARLESTON – A former inmate at the Southern Regional Jail who reported a correctional officer for bringing contraband into the jail alleges that correctional officers labeled him a "rat" to other inmates, which resulted in him being beaten and suffering severe injuries.

Thomas Ward filed a complaint in Kanawha Circuit Court against the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Corrections Officer Chapman and John and Jane Doe alleging outrageous conduct, deliberate indifference and vicarious liability.

According to the suit, Ward's cousin, a correctional officer, brought contraband into the jail. Ward claims Chapman, John and Jane Doe told other inmates that Ward "ratted on his cousin" and that this was the reason for his termination. Within 45 minutes of arriving at the Southern Regional Jail, Ward alleges was beaten by about five inmates and suffered a fractured eye socket, nasal cavity, nose and jaw. 

He alleges the jail should not have allowed him to be placed in the general population and that jail officials "placed him in imminent danger" with their alleged statements.

Ward seeks damages for medical expenses, a trial by jury, interest and all other just relief. He is represented by Paul Stroebel of the Stroebel & Johnson Law Firm PLLC in Charleston. 

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 19-C-890

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