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Terry Jones v. United States of America

October 27, 2011

TERRY JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Terry Jones, a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution of Petersburg, Virginia, brings this action against defendant United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims Act, claiming negligence and medical malpractice by federal Bureau of Prisons employees. Defendant has moved to dismiss for improper venue pursuant to Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) or, in the alternative, to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated herein, defendant's motion to transfer venue will be granted and the case will be transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

BACKGROUND

I. FACTS*fn1

Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons who is serving a prison sentence imposed by the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. (First Am. Compl. ¶ 10.) Prior to his incarceration, he was a resident of the District of Columbia. (Id. ¶ 10.)

A. USP Hazelton: December 20, 2007 - November 4, 2008

In December 2007, plaintiff was incarcerated at USP Hazelton in the Northern District of West Virginia. (Id. ¶ 1.) On December 20, 2007, he was injured in a riot on his unit when he slipped on another inmate's blood on a metal staircase and fell on his back. (Id. ¶¶ 1-2, 17-33.) Following this incident, plaintiff "sought medical attention for numbness and tingling in his fingers," and was advised to "stop doing sit-ups." (Id. ¶¶ 2, 34-35.) Over the next ten months, plaintiff "repeatedly sought medical attention, asked for and was denied an MRI, asked for and was denied an orthopedic or other specialist consultation, and was never treated for his back injury." (Id. ¶¶ 3, 36-46, 51-52.) Finally, on November 4, 2008, plaintiff was "scheduled for an orthopedic consultation," but that same day, before the consultation occurred, plaintiff was transferred out of Hazelton. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 48-49.)

B. Transfer from USP Hazelton to USP Tucson, Arizona

From USP Hazelton, plaintiff was flown to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and then taken on a seventeen-hour bus ride to USP Tucson, Arizona. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 54, 57). Due to "extreme pain and weakness," plaintiff required assistance in getting on and off the plane. (Id. ¶ 54.) The bus ride, during which plaintiff was in leg and hand restraints, caused plaintiff excruciating pain and, when he arrived at USP Tucson, he "was unable to walk and could not exit the bus under his own power." (Id. ¶¶ 4, 57-60)

C. USP Tucson: November 7, 2008-March 11, 2009

Over the next fourteen months at USP Tucson, plaintiff's "condition continued to deteriorate," but his requests for treatment for his back pain were denied and he was given only short-term pain medication. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 65-73, 77-78.) On March 11, 2009, plaintiff "experienced lightning-like, shooting pain in his back and collapsed on the recreation yard." (Id. ¶¶ 6, 74.) He was transferred to an outside hospital where "testing revealed that he suffered from extensive spinal damage, including severe spinal stenosis, degeneration of the spinal discs, and disk protrusion." (Id. ¶¶ 6, 75-76) On March 13, 2009, or thereabout, plaintiff had back surgery to prevent further worsening of his injuries. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 79.)

D. USP Petersburg

At some later date, plaintiff was transferred to USP Petersburg in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he was residing at the time he filed the instant complaint. He "remains unable to walk without the use of a walker, cannot sit for long periods of time, has muscular atrophy in his upper arms, and ...


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