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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Lawsuit: Middle River Regional Jail Used and Abused Inmate in Kitchen Job, Failed to Treat Injuries

Written by: Sam Orlando

STAUNTON, VA - Eugene Ross Cousins, an inmate at Middle River Regional Jail, has recently filed a federal lawsuit against several officials, including Col. Eric Young, Sat Caplinger, Officer O. Gill, and medical staff. The complaint alleges negligence in response to an injury Cousins sustained while working as a kitchen trustee.

Negligence in Safety Gear Provision

On July 6, 2023, Cousins was assigned a kitchen trustee job and provided with a pair of black tennis shoes by Sat Caplinger, according to the lawsuit's statement of facts. However, the shoes were not labeled as non-slip, a crucial safety feature in the kitchen environment. On August 11, 2023, the inmate slipped and fell on pre-existing applesauce, injuring his left shoulder. Despite reporting the incident, the response from jail authorities, including Officer O. Gill and medical staff, was allegedly delayed and insufficient, according to court documents.

Delayed Medical Attention and Grievances

Cousins faced a significant delay in receiving medical attention, waiting all day for a call from medical staff, according to the complaint. Grievances filed by the inmate underscore the failure of jail officials to follow appropriate protocols in addressing his injury promptly.

Defendants' Alleged Knowledge

Between November 1 and November 3, 2023, Cousins spoke with jail officers about whether Defendant Young pays for non-slip shoes. Officers confirmed the policy, asserting that Defendant Young provides up to $100.00 towards the cost of each kitchen worker's non-slip shoes. The lawsuit claims that the same protection was not afforded to Cousins when he got injured.

Inadequate Pain Management

The lawsuit also alleges that the jail's medical staff failed to provide a 24-hour supply of pain medicine, causing the inmate to suffer in pain each night for six hours.

Claims and Relief Sought

Cousins asserts multiple claims, including deliberate indifference, discrimination, equal protection, due process, and cruel and unusual punishment, all in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The relief sought includes compensation for negligence, medical expenses, and damages resulting from the delayed medical response.

Jury Trial Request

The plaintiff has requested a trial by jury to adjudicate the claims. The court will now review the complaint, and the defendants will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

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