10 Sep Sue Ryan v. Hayes
Sue Ryan was victimized by assault and rape by an escaped convict from the Limestone Correctional Facility operated by the State of Alabama Department of Corrections. The inmate should never have been allowed to work on a chain gang due to his poor disciplinary record, but the prison reclassification officer failed to act on the inmate’s reclassification for more than thirty days —–allowing the paperwork to sit on his desk. While out on a work detail, the inmate shook off his leg irons and escaped from the prison guard. Suit was brought against the leg iron manufacturer from Birmingham, England as well as the state prison officials responsible. The trial judge initially ruled that the case could not proceed due to existing Alabama law, but this ruling was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. In this reported decision, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the trial judge and allowed the case to proceed. The leg iron manufacturer initially settled and then the Alabama Department of Risk Management eventually paid the limits available to the plaintiff and certain others injured by the inmate although none as badly as Mrs. Ryan.