Inmate Slips and Falls Due to Plumbing Leak; Jail and Medical Provider Say "Not Our Problem"
Written by: Sam Orlando
Portsmouth, VA — In a tale seemingly lifted straight from the life of Franz Kafka, Jamaal-David Gregory Harris, an inmate at Hampton Roads Regional Jail, slipped and injured himself due to—wait for it—a jail's plumbing leak. He's turning to the only resort left to him: the court system. And lest you think his ire is directed solely at the ever-vigilant custodians of his wellbeing, Hampton Roads Regional Jail, don't forget the folks working for the jail's medical provider, Wellpath LLC. Because when you slip and fall in an institution supposedly safeguarded by professionals, wouldn't you expect both parties to step up?
The Gripping Saga of the Plaintiff
Harris isn't merely griping about a bad day. He claims that after his fall, the powers-that-be compelled him to walk on his injured leg for a good 48 days. Ah yes, 48 days—what one might otherwise consider an eternity in Hell or a decent run for a Broadway show. But here's the cherry on top: the jail and the medical team apparently met his agony with a resounding shrug. Because nothing says "we care" quite like forcing a man to walk on an injured leg for nearly seven weeks, right?
The Noble Defense: A Motion to Dismiss
In an awe-inspiring feat of legal jargon, the defendants pulled out a "Demurrer" and "Plea in Bar," translated to a Motion to Dismiss for those following the case’s graduation to federal court. Their argument is that Harris's claims are as substantial as a house of cards. Imagine blaming someone for walking where he's supposed to walk! You don't have to imagine, you can read the Defendants' response to the lawsuit here.
The Inevitable Cliffhanger
So what's the next episode in this legal drama? Will the court give the defendants a round of applause for their Motion to Dismiss? Or will they realize that maybe—just maybe—jails and their contracted medical providers should take responsibility for their domain, leaky pipes and all?
This case could become a landmark decision for holding correctional facilities and their medical contractors accountable. No spoilers here, though—you'll just have to keep following along with us.