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Palm Beach County Jury Awards South Bay Prison Inmate $1.2 Million

Posted on September 24, 2012

A Palm Beach County jury has awarded an inmate at South Bay Correctional Facility $1.2 million to compensate him for catastrophic injuries he sustained after another inmate threw boiling water into his face. The water-throwing incident left the inmate blind in one eye and, according to the victim’s attorney, will also leave him with a legacy of future medical problems.

The prison is run by GEO Group, a Boca Raton-based prison management company under contract with the Florida Department of Management Services. The plaintiff’s attorney claimed that GEO was negligent because it gave prisoners unrestricted access to microwaves in their open cell blocks. He also contended that GEO knew of the risks, but did nothing to stop the practice.

According to the Palm Beach Post, GEO’s attorneys countered that inmates are a “crafty bunch,” and that they can “make a weapon out of nothing.” If it wasn’t microwaved water, it would have been something else, they argued.

The jury forewoman, a nurse at Jupiter Medical Center, reportedly was “appalled” when she heard the inmates had free access to microwave ovens. She said, “We don’t allow patients in the hospital to use microwaves. Why would you let criminals?”

The inmate’s attorney said that his client would not be able to return to his former job as a roofer when he is released in 2014 and can’t do manual labor because sweat irritates his damaged eye, which allegedly oozes constantly.

GEO had refused to settle out of court for $125,000. The $1.2 million jury award was $400,000 more than the inmate’s attorney had sought.

No matter what your situation may be, if the negligence of another party is responsible for your injuries, they should be held accountable. Contact the Palm Beach County burn injury lawyers at Farah & Farah when you are looking for experienced legal representation that gets results. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free review of your case.