Constitutional Law

Inmate takes $4K settlement in suit alleging he was denied a toothbrush


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An inmate who filed a handwritten federal lawsuit in 2009 alleging that Missouri prison employees had failed to provide him with toothbrushes and toothpaste has settled his case on the eve of trial.

Eugene Kenneth Jones has agreed to accept $4,000 from the state to conclude both this lawsuit (PDF) and another one that was not as procedurally advanced, the state attorney general’s office told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The article says Missouri did not admit liability in the settlement.

Jones contended he suffered dental problems and was forced to trade food and sexual acts for toothbrushes and toothpaste because of the illegal denial of basic hygiene items by prison employees.

The state argued “years of poor oral hygiene” before Jones began his armed robbery sentence was responsible for the condition of the plaintiff’s teeth.

Jones also said in court filings that the state had seized a $7.50 monthly stipend to pay his filing fees for state and federal lawsuits, even though he is indigent and hence filing fees should be waived. It isn’t clear from the newspaper article how that issue was resolved.

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