- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A teen has filed a tort claim against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction because he says he sustained a concussion and a badly broken collarbone when a department employee body-slammed him to the ground.

The tort claim was filed with the Idaho Secretary of State earlier this week. Idaho law requires that those seeking to sue a state agency file a tort claim first.

Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said the department cannot comment on matters involving litigation. He confirmed that the IDJC teacher named in the lawsuit, Jerod Ward, remains a department employee. A message left by The Associated Press at a phone number listed under Ward’s name was not immediately returned.

In the claim, the youth - referred to only as John A. G. Doe, says he was sent to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction detention center in Lewiston last year, at the age of 15.

Doe says the injury happened last month, after he argued with Ward about the placement of his desk in a classroom.

Doe contends the teacher forcibly moved both his desk and chair while Doe was still seated, and that when Doe walked out of the classroom, the teacher followed and “grabbed and body slammed” him to the floor.

“The severity of the impact to the floor caused Plaintiff to lose consciousness,” Doe’s attorney, Bruce Skaug, wrote in the tort claim. “When he awoke, two IDJC employees were holding his arms behind his back while he lay on the gym floor.”

Doe says he repeatedly cried out, “my arm, my arm,” according to staff witnesses, but the employees continued to hold him on the floor for about 25 minutes.

The teen’s collarbone was visibly fractured and displaced, according to the tort claim, and he suffered a concussion and severe bruising on his face, forehead and chin. The Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction has security video of the incident, according to the tort claim.

Doe’s attorney says that as a result of the teacher’s actions, the teen needs medical care including surgery to repair his collarbone, and counseling. Doe is seeking $250,000 in damages.

Skaug is also representing several youths who are or were previously in the custody of the state Department of Juvenile Corrections in other unrelated legal cases. The other cases involve allegations of sexual abuse by staffers at a state juvenile correction center in Nampa.


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