News

Court Awards BLF Client $1.75 Million Judgment in FTCA Case

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered judgment in August, 2020, in favor of BLF’s client Peter Bistrian and against the United States, in this Federal Torts Claims Act case. 

In October, 2006, while he was incarcerated in the Segregated Housing Unit of the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, Peter Bistrian was brutally assaulted by another inmate who brought a razor weapon into the rec pen without detection by FDC personnel.  Bistrian was injured further when a stun munition intended to distract the attacker detonated under Bistrian’s lower back while he was supine on the concrete floor attempting to defend himself from the assault.    

On August 21, 2020, following years of litigation including interlocutory appeals, a multi-week bench trial in 2019, and months of supplemental post-trial discovery, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a 76-page Adjudication and a Judgment Order awarding plaintiff the total amount of $1,751,340.81 on his claims against the United States.  The judgment included $251,340.81 for plaintiff’s past medical costs, $1,000,000.00 for his future medical costs, and $500,000.00 for pain and suffering. Bistrian v. Levi, Civ. A. No. 08-3010 (E.D. Pa.)

The District Court found that the Government was negligent in failing to collect or account for all razors distributed to inmates in the SHU, and in failing to properly pat and wand search the attacker in accordance with mandatory Bureau of Prisons policy before he was placed in the rec pen with other inmates, and that the Government’s negligence proximately caused the assault on the plaintiff.  The Court found further that the October 2006 assault, in which the plaintiff was repeatedly slashed with a razor weapon for several minutes before a stun munition was detonated underneath his body, was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s back pain and its attendant complications, as well as a proximate cause of plaintiff’s PTSD.

BLF attorneys Richard L. Bazelon, A. Richard Feldman, Lisa A. Barton, and Michael F.R. Harris represented plaintiff Peter Bistrian in his Federal Tort Claims Act suit against the United States.

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