United States District Court, D. Arizona
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW (DAMAGES) AND
V. WAKE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
28, 2017, following a three-day bench trial on liability, the
Court found the United States liable to Plaintiff Fifer for
battery under the Federal Tort Claims Act
(“FTCA”) and Arizona law. (Doc. 154.) Following a
bench trial on damages, the Court makes the following
findings of fact and states the following conclusions of law
pursuant to Rule 52(a)(1).
FINDINGS OF FACT
December 1, 2011, and August 30, 2012, Fifer filed an
administrative claim for personal injury in the amount of
Prior to Plaintiff's arrival at FCI Phoenix, Plaintiff
was blind in his right eye.
Plaintiff is currently serving a 25-year sentence for
distributing of a controlled substance, conspiring to
distribute a controlled substance, and carrying a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
September 3, 2010, during a riot, Plaintiff was struck in the
left eye with a rubber projectile, causing permanent injury.
Fifer was struck multiple times in the head and face with
rubber projectiles. (Doc. 154 at 3, 6.) One hit him in the
neck, one on his head, and another in his left eye. The force
of the blow knocked Fifer temporarily unconscious.
(Id. at 6.) When Fifer woke up, his left eye was
filled with blood. Because of a previous injury to his right
eye, the new injuries left Fifer unable to see out of either
eye. Fifer was examined by medical staff and transported to
an outside hospital, where a medical evaluation revealed that
he had suffered a detached retina, contusion, and permanent
scarring in his left eye resulting in partial blindness.
(Id. at 7.)
Fifer had five surgeries to his eyes-three to his left eye
and two to his right eye-to restore sight to both eyes.
surgeries restored sight to Plaintiff's right eye. The
surgeries partially restored sight to Plaintiff's left
eye, with the vision in that eye obscured with a
“dot” in the center of his field of vision, due
to the scarring. Glasses do not diminish this effect in the
the date of the injury up until his last surgery in 2012, he
experienced blurred and foggy vision, light sensitivity,
partial blindness, and headaches of varying intensity. He was
prescribed pain medication following the incident and after
Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) paid for
Fifer's surgeries. As long as Fifer remains in custody,
the prison will also pay for Fifer's other medical care
needs, namely, his visits to the ophthalmologist and contact
lenses, which he requires to see. Fifer is scheduled to be
released from custody in December 2020, at which time he will
be 50 years old.
These injuries were the proximate cause of physical pain and
mental anguish. The initial phase of Fifer's injury (from
September 2010 to approximately April 2012) was particularly
painful. Because Fifer remains partially blind in his left
eye, it is reasonably likely that Fifer will suffer future
pain and suffering as a result of the injury. Fifer is
entitled to receive compensation for non-economic damages,
including past and future pain and suffering and loss of past
and future enjoyment of life.
is reasonably likely that Fifer will need contact lenses
indefinitely. But it is not shown that other future
substantial medical ...