Lawsuit Filed In Scabies Outbreak At CoreCivic

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 19:00:38-04

New information has been released on the scabies outbreak at the CoreCivic correctional facility.

Some men at the facility have been infected around two weeks after reports of 37 females showing signs of an infectious rash.

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Metro employees who also contracted the parasitic mite.

The prosecuting attorney on the suit, Gary Blackburn, said this all could have been avoided.

"The lawsuit alleges the spread to Metro employees happened here, in the Birch Building, where an inmate from CoreCivic who was infected with scabies was brought for a hearing and infected several people,” Blackburn said.

If you ask Blackburn, it's a vile parasite. "Once it's on your body, it spreads naturally. These things reproduce,” he said.

With scabies, the mite burrows under the skin, feeds on the host, and then lays eggs. The mites hatch, exit the skin, and that's how it spreads through direct contact.

Blackburn has filed a lawsuit representing some Metro employees and their families against the detention center contractor, CoreCivic.

"The court officer who was infested, then, it's of course, highly contagious, he, his wife then contracted it from him, and one of his children has contracted it,” Blackburn said.

The lawsuit stated CoreCivic "failed to quarantine infected individuals in its care" and that this "caused a foreseeable and preventable systematic outbreak which spread to the Plaintiffs.”

The lawsuit also stated that the contractor "intentionally minimized the awareness of the outbreak."

“I will have a witness who will say they were ordered not to discuss scabies and threatened with retaliation if they did,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn added quarantine and immediate treatment could have stopped the spread.

“It's not like a person entered the Birch Building with a gun,” Blackburn said. “It’s like a person entered the Birch Building with hundreds of tiny weapons."

On Wednesday evening, a representative from CoreCivic said of the 664 men in their facility, 17 have recently reported scabies-like symptoms.

Three additional females have also reported symptoms. All 20 new cases will be treated as presumptive scabies cases.

According to reports, the 20 will be isolated until 24 hours after receiving their first dose of medication.

Officials said the remaining men who have not shown signs of symptoms will receive a single dose of medication. Housing units and inmate clothing and laundry will also be cleaned and disinfected.

They added medication was ordered and was expected to arrive on Thursday.

CoreCivic representatives responded by saying they don't comment on pending litigation. They continued with the following statement:

“The Davidson County Sheriff's Office and the Metro Public Health Department were notified of this issue from the start, and they have been engaged every step of the way. In situations like this, we work hard to follow all protocols and guidelines to mitigate the issue.”

The lawsuit has sought damages in the form of lost wages, pain and suffering from the outbreak of scabies, and emotional distress.