The Penn Record Jan. 27, 2015, 2:51pm


PHILADELPHIA - After rejecting a $425,000 settlement offer, a Philadelphia man recently sued a firm that owns a private prison, claiming negligence on the prison's part after a fellow inmate allegedly beat him with a pipe.

Austin Walker filed the lawsuit against Community Education Centers, Inc., which owns Hoffman Hall in Philadelphia. Walker's suit alleged the company had a duty to protect him from other prisoners while he was incarcerated.

The lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Dec. 4 but was removed by the defendant to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Jan. 14.

In the removal notice, the defendant argues that because Walker rejected its most recent settlement offer and demanded $425,000, that the $75,000 threshold for federal jurisdiction has been met.

Walker alleges another prisoner attacked him at approximately 11 p.m. on March 23, 2013, using a pipe and a small stabbing weapon.

He said he was struck in the head, face and chest. The suit further alleged no precautions were taken at Hoffman Hall to prevent prisoners from obtaining materials that could be used as weapons.

Walker said he suffered multiple jaw fractures, facial paresthesia, infections and other injuries that required multiple surgeries.

He is asking for more than $50,000 in damages. He is represented by Joel J. Kofsky of the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky.

In its removal notice, Community Education Centers also argues that it is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New Jersey, and therefore there is diversity of citizenship.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:15-cv-00159.

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