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JUDGE RULES FOR INMATE WHO LOST EYE IN ATTACK

SHARE JUDGE RULES FOR INMATE WHO LOST EYE IN ATTACK

The state must pay $97,500 to a Utah State Prison inmate whose eye was poked out by another prisoner throwing a mop handle while guards stood by.

U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba ruled that the state must pay Mike Grimsley, 27, for his pain, continuing medical bills and future lost earnings.In an unusual move, the judge also imposed punitive damages of $7,500 each against three prison administrators for failing to properly train prison guards.

"Finally, we are getting the prison administrators held responsible for not training people and giving them the tools to do their job," said Brian Barnard, attorney for Grimsley.

Prison officials are re-evaluating the training policy in light of the ruling, said Jesse Gallegos, spokesman for the prison. "We feel like the current training being provided is some of the best in the country. However, with this decision, we may have to make some modification in order to bring it up to the standard that Judge Alba set forth," Gallegos said.

Four prison guards stood by as inmate Terry MacKay rampaged through a commons area at the prison Feb. 18, 1990. They videotaped MacKay as he broke out the window of Grimsley's cell and threw the mop handle at him.

They continued taping as Grimsley screamed for help. But they did nothing to prevent the violence, according to testimony at trial.

MacKay's attack on Grimsley occurred on a Sunday afternoon. MacKay was angry at Grimsley for attempting to flood MacKay's cell. MacKay had been let out of his cell to clean the mess up. Instead, he used the cleaning supplies to attack Grimsley.

The guards later said they didn't use a stun gun, water hose or Mace to stop the attack because they hadn't been trained in using those weapons. Prison policy forbade guards to use the weapons without training, according to testimony at trial.

The punitive damages were assessed against Tom House, Fred Van Der Veur and Gerald Cook. "Those are the three who made the decisions about training or not training the staff," Barnard said.

Alba awarded Grimsley $50,000 for his suffering and general damages; $25,000 for future lost wages and future medical bills and $22,500 in punitive damages.

Grimsley is pleased with the ruling, Barnard said. "He wants to sock the money away so he will have a nest egg when he gets out of prison."

Grimsley is serving time for aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He was imprisoned in August, 1988 on a one-to-15-year term and has a parole hearing in June 1996.