2nd inmate files suit against Northumberland County jail
SUNBURY - A second inmate at Northumberland County Prison has filed a federal lawsuit against the same prison personnel listed as defendants in a complaint filed earlier this week by inmate Jeffrey Robert Adams, of Shamokin.
Erick Robert Trometter, of Herndon, filed his suit for similar reasons Monday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Scranton, against Sgts. Krista Brouse and Joseph Moore, Correctional Officers Jason Greek, Josh Lehman and William Reber, Warden Roy Johnson, Operations Commander Brian Wheary and a nurse identified in court documents as "John Doe." Moore was terminated from his position Sept. 12, but it is unknown if his firing was related to allegations made in the suits.
Trometter is seeking in excess of $1 million in damages.
He is serving a sentence of 4 to 23 months for simple assault and has been incarcerated since Oct. 11, 2011, claims he has been forced to live under foul and cruel conditions.
In his lawsuit, the inmate claims he and Adams were beaten by guards during a forcible, non-videotaped cell extraction after the inmates had words with the correctional officers.
There are at least two inmates who claim to have witnessed the assaults.
On Sept. 9, Trometter states in the suit that he heard screams coming from Adams' cell while Adams was allegedly being beaten by several correctional officers.
After Adams was taken from the right wing of the prison, Trometter claims Reber opened his cell door, tackled him to the floor, grabbed his hair and repeatedly slammed his face off the floor. He claims Reber then handcuffed and shackled him before Brouse told Greek and Lehman to kick him. While Greek and Lehman were kicking him, Trometter said Brouse began kicking the back of his head before kicking him in the face.
Trometter said in the complaint that Reber and Greek picked him up out of the cell, causing the handcuffs and shackles to become tight, which prompted Trometter to start losing feeling in his hands and feet.
Trometter claims he was going in and out of consciousness when the guards took him to the basement.
As a result of the beating, Trometter said he suffered a swollen eye, bloody nose, swollen lips, swollen knees and multiple bruises and had difficulty standing because of pain in his lower back. He also claimed to have had difficulty breathing because of rib pain.
The inmate said the nurse came to the cell to clean blood from his body, but refused to give him proper medical treatment or take photographs or otherwise document his injuries.
Trometter said he was given a mattress and a shirt, but noted the ceiling in his cell was leaking water all over the floor and a foul odor of feces was present.
The plaintiff said he was forced to live in those conditions for two days without food, water and basic hygiene products.
On Sept. 11, Trometter said he was taken back to his right wing cell, where he asked Lehman and Reber for a grievance form. He said Brouse then came onto the wing and told Trometter and Adams that if they asked for any more grievances, they would get another "---whipping."
Trometter said he noticed his law papers, personal writings and three photos were missing from his cell. He claimed Brouse told him she threw out his belongings before issuing him two false misconducts.
Trometter claims the physical abuse/attack by Brouse, Reber, Greek and Lehman violated his eighth amendment rights, while Brouse's destruction of his property out of retaliation and her ordering his attack violated his First, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights. Trometter also claims Moore's failure to prevent the attack and the nurse's failure to provide adequate medical care violated his Eighth Amendment rights.
He claimed Johnson and Wheary ordered the attack and violated his First, Eighth and 14 Amendment rights by not having proper policies in place to prevent the misuse of force and failing to properly train the guards.
Trometter is seeking $1 million against Brouse, Moore, Reber, Greek and Lehman for the beating, and against Johnson and Wheary for ordering the attack. He also is seeking $300,000 against Brouse for destroying his property, ordering him to live under gruesome conditions for two days and issuing two false misconducts. He is seeking $175,000 against the nurse for failure to provide adequate medical care and for not taking photos of his injuries.
He also is seeking $200,000 in punitive damages from Moore, Brouse, Reber, Greek and Lehman, $175,000 against the nurse, $150,000 against Johnson and $125,000 against Wheary.
Johnson was off duty Friday and unavailable for comment. Wheary declined comment.