SC pays $200K in jail lawsuit after inmates claim fumes made them pass out
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - A settlement of more than $200,000 has been reached in a 2016 lawsuit alleging several inmates passed out in Berkeley County because of fumes.
Twenty-three people who were inmates at the time will now receive payments from the state’s Insurance Reserve Fund, according to court records.
The plaintiffs were all inmates at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center at the time the suit was filed. They claim their showers were leaking two years prior in 2014 and when the detention center tried to fix them, chemical fumes were too much for the inmates.
Jail officials said at the time a product used during routine maintenance caused a respiratory reaction with some inmates, sending some to an area hospital.
The original lawsuit, which named Berkeley County and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, alleged unknown chemicals were used to clean the showers earlier that day. It goes on to say caulk and/or unknown chemicals and substances were applied during repairs. The combination of those chemicals, as well as fans and blow torches used during repairs, spread the fumes all through the inmates’ pod.
The suit states those fumes became unbearable, and several inmates passed out and weren’t let out of their cells, while some were eventually treated by EMS. Court documents alleged inmates were denied follow-up care even after complaining of headaches and dizziness, symptoms they say they didn’t have prior to their showers being repaired and the fumes spreading through the jail.
State documents state the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund paid out a total of $200,100 to 23 people on behalf of Berkeley County in June with each plaintiff receiving $8,700.
The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
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