Inmate claims painkiller from prison docs was not enough. $120,000.


Inmate with scoliosis suffers chronic back pain and prison doctors don't manage his pain well.

The Case

  • Case Name: Samuel Anderson v. Kelso, et al
  • Court and Case Number: United States District Court, Eastern District / CV12-0261-MCE-KJN
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, March 21, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  • Type of Case: Civil Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Morrison C. England, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Samuel Anderson
  • Defendants:
    Dorothy Swingle, prison physician.
    Bonnie Lee, prison physician.
    Jerry Stovall, licensed clinical social worker.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $120,000
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Swingle: $60,000
    Lee: $60,000
    Defendant Stovall received a defense verdict.


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 3 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 days.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendants Lee and Swingle have filed motions for JNOV and for a new trial which are pending.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Akudinobi & Ikonte by Chijioke O. Ikonte, Emmanuel C. and Akudinobi, Los Angeles.

    Law Office of Emenike A Iroegbu by Emenike Iroegbu, Sacramento. (Not counsel of record.)

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Office of the Attorney General by Lawrence Bragg, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Gerald Frank, M.D., pain management, Aptos.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was an inmate at the High Desert State Prison, Susanville, California. He suffered from chronic back pain as a result of severe scoliosis. In addition, plaintiff had neuropathic nerve pain as a result of diabetes. The neuropathic pain was managed. The chronic low back pain was intitially managed with low dosage opioid medication - morphine sulfate.

    The prison physicians switched plaintiff's medication from low dosage morphine to tramadol. Plaintiff complained that the low dosage opioid was ineffective in managing his pain. Instead of titrating the medication upwards, the opioid was discontinued and plaintiff was given Tylenol for pain management.

    After plaintiff filed his lawsuit and sought to enjoin the prison authorities to re-introduce opioid for pain management, the physicians re-introduced tramadol. After Anderson was transferred to another facility, the treating physician placed him on methadone.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the prison physicians either ignored his pains or minimized his pain. That treating physicians were deliberately indifferent to his pain, causing emotional distress.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That the manner in which Anderson's pain was managed did not exhibit deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Rather, what occurred was a difference of opinion between physicians on the best way to manage the pain.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $25,000. $50,000 per defense counsel.
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $5,000