Former Inmate Blames Fall On Prison Guard
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 28, 2006
ATLANTA, GEORGIA--A former inmate at a Georgia prison is suing the state's corrections department, saying it was negligent and violated his rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Monday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Byron "B.J." Rhodan claimed in his federal suit that in April 2004, when he was serving 20 months for drug convictions, a prison guard told him to shave. When Rhodan, who stands 4 feet 1 inches tall, explained that he could not reach the mirror over the sink in his cell, the guard told him to stand on the sink.
Rhodan, 23, claims that when he did as the guard instructed, he slipped and fell off the sink and onto the concrete floor, severely injuring his back. He had already undergone several surgeries because of his dwarfism, he said.
"Just because I was in prison they shouldn't put me in a position to hurt myself," said Rhodan, who was released last year.
He is asking for unspecified monetary damages in the suit.
A fellow inmate has come forward to testify for the state, saying Rhodan fell on purpose and is trying to "scam" the Department of Corrections.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that another Georgia prison inmate, Tony Goodman, could sue the State of Georgia for damages under Title II of the ADA, which covers accessibility in public services. Goodman claimed in his 1999 suit that prison officials held him in a cell that was too narrow to move his wheelchair; that prison workers refused to help him transfer to the toilet, bed or shower, leaving him to sit in his own bodily wastes; that his efforts to use the toilet or shower without assistance resulted in broken bones and other injuries; and that the Department of Corrections' failure to provide accessible facilities prevented him from accessing typical prison services and recreational opportunities that other inmates enjoyed.
"Dwarf sues state over fall from sink" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)