Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 26, 2014

Federal court hears case from former inmate

BLUEFIELD — Counsel for the plaintiff and the defendant presented closing arguments in the civil case of an Albemarle County, Va., woman who claims she was mistreated and physically abused more than 4 years ago by a correctional officer at the federal prison camp in Alderson.

Jean Elizabeth Kaufman of Barboursville, Va., filed her initial pro se complaint in January 2010,  naming a specific correctional officer, but amended the complaint and re-filed it in March 2012 — naming the government as the defendant, court documents reveal.

Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Faber of the Southern District scheduled the bench trial to start on Tuesday. Kaufman was represented by John Gianola and  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Horn represented government in the trial. The  plaintiff and defense presented evidence in the case and made their closing arguments on Wednesday. Kaufman is seeking $1.5 million in compensation for the physical, emotional and financial damages she claims to have suffered.

Kaufman stated in her complaint that on Jan. 28, 2008, a correctional officer who, according to her statement, was holding a door open to a dining hall at FPC Alderson, told an inmate that she had entered the dining hall through the wrong door, and ordered her to exit the hall and re-enter through the appropriate door. The plaintiff Kaufman wrote that she said to the other inmate: “That was important,” prompting the corrections officer to tell Kaufman to leave the building where he allegedly shouted obscenities at her, subjected her to a search and “slammed” her into the wall repeatedly,” according to her statement of claim.

In support of her request for $1.5 million, Kaufman wrote that she suffered physical damages, emotional damages and that the incident “exacerbated” her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The court took the evidence and statements by the opposing counsel “under advisement,” court documents revealed.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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