COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A law firm representing a 15-year-old boy and his mother filed a complaint Wednesday against five juvenile detention center employees, alleging they are responsible for a fight with another resident that left the boy paralyzed.
According to a complaint filed with the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, the lawsuit states the defendants did not protect Damarion Allen, 15, during an altercation with another inmate. It said that Allen has since been confined to a wheelchair.
Allen and his mother, Mary Washington, are suing four intervention specialists, a shift supervisor and 10 other unknown defendants.
In April, Allen was a juvenile resident at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center when he was attacked by another resident, the lawsuit said. The assailant was charged with, admitted to and was sentenced for a juvenile delinquency charge of assault.
The complaint said the assailant then threatened Allen “if he ever saw him again,” reportedly in the presence of staff members. Allen’s attorneys said that the two remained in adjacent rooms despite this.
The following month, even though Allen was supposed to be in medical isolation, an intervention specialist and a shift supervisor allowed Allen and the assailant to take showers at the same time. The two passed each other while bringing their clothes to the common space and engaged one another.
The complaint said neither employee intervened. Allen and the assailant began a physical altercation during which Allen’s head hit the concrete floor. Allen reportedly lay motionless while the assailant kicked him in the head several times. Allen was unable to stand or walk, and his lower body was limp.
Several employees allegedly attempted to move Allen, unsuccessfully, and at one point they dropped Allen face down on a set of stairs. The complaint said intervention specialists did not believe Allen when he said he couldn’t walk. The complaint said Allen shouted, “Put me on my back,” “I can’t breathe,” and “My neck.”
Three specialists carried him to his room and placed him facedown on a bunk ledge, with his upper body draped over the edge and his lower body hanging down toward the floor. At that point, the shift supervisor placed Allen on his back with his head propped on her foot.
The complaint said Allen suffered severe injuries, including several fractured vertebrae. After multiple surgeries and physical therapy, Allen remains paralyzed and cannot move his legs, go to school, feed, or bathe himself or control his bladder or bowels, the complaint read.
The defendants are accused of reckless, willful, or wanton breach of duty and loss of consortium and are being sued for compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial.