Man who claimed Curran-Fromhold guard broke his jaw settles with corrections officials, City of Philadelphia

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 23, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff inmate of Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility who alleged an assault at the hands of a corrections officer broke his jaw recently settled his case.

On Sept. 11, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Clerk of Court Kate S. Barkman announced the case between Daniel Eichelsberger, the City of Philadelphia, Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility and various prison officials was settled and dismissed with prejudice, and without costs. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

On Dec. 16, 2016, plaintiff Eichelsberger was an inmate at the Alternative and Special Detention Unit of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. Per the complaint, defendant Officer Stefan Wilson, a corrections officer employed at the facility, insulted the plaintiff by calling him a “junkie” drug addict and a liar. Subsequently, Wilson allegedly assaulted and battered Eichelsberger, fracturing his jaw and necessitating surgical repair.

Eichelsberger then filed a lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and Wilson on Dec. 26 of last year, alleging one Monell count against the City and one count for violation of 8th and 14th Amendment rights against Wilson. Wilson answered the allegations, and the City timely filed a motion to dismiss.

On Feb. 14, Eichelsberger filed an amended complaint, which added claims against two additional defendants, Gerald May and Nancy Giannetta, wardens of the facility, in both individual and official capacities, alleging they trained their officers to assault the facility’s inmates without consequence.

Baylson explained as Count II for violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments only applies to Wilson, the City’s motion to dismiss only applies as to the Monell and civil rights violations claims, which the City believed were not adequately supported.

However, Baylson labeled Eichelsberger’s argument of municipal liability tied to the defendants’ failure to train its employees properly as sufficient.

“Therefore, plaintiff states a valid claim, at this stage of the litigation, and may proceed as to Count I, solely on a ‘failure to adequately train’ theory of Monell liability against the City,” Baylson said. “[The civil rights violation claim], insofar as it pertains to the City, Giannetta and May, will be dismissed. However, the count remains relevant as to defendant Wilson,” Baylson concluded.

The plaintiff was represented by Brandon A. Swartz and Joseph P. Guzzardo of Swartz Culleton, in Newtown.

The defendants were represented by Aaron Shotland, Assistant General Counsel of the School District of Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:17-cv-05795

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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City of Philadelphia Swartz Culleton PC

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