(CN) – An inmate injured in a plane crash cannot receive damages after an Illinois Federal Court determined that his claims were time-barred by a two-year statute of limitations.
On Oct. 1, 2003, an airplane carrying inmates bound for the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., crash-landed at O’Hare International Airport after a landing gear failure. The inmates were evacuated via the emergency slide and arrived in Terre Haute without further incident.
Three years after the crash, Paul Denton, an inmate on board the plane, filed a claim with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that his back and spine were injured by a U.S. Marshal while being evacuated and that he was denied medical care for his injuries. The claim was denied because of the two-year limit.
In response, Denton sued the United States of America, the U.S. Marshalls Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Denton offered several explanations for not meeting the deadline, including that the medications he was prescribed by the Bureau of Prisons after the injury had caused mental disability.
District Judge James Holderman found the argument unconvincing, citing a mental competency examination that Denton passed and medical records that showed no disabling drugs were prescribed to him.
Denton also claimed that multiple prison transfers and not receiving responses to two letters sent to prison officials about his claim warranted an exception. Holderman also rejected both arguments.