Man settles for $250k with WA state prisons after injury from basketball game

Jan 10, 2024, 12:46 PM

prisoner wins...

Monroe Correctional Complex (


Washington State will pay $250,000 to a former inmate who injured his knee during a basketball game in prison.

34-year-old Harold Lang Jr., a prisoner at the Monroe Correctional Complex’s Twin Rivers Unit, tore his ACL during a basketball game at the prison.

He later sued the state, saying poor health care at Monroe made his injury worse.

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“In general, if someone tears a ligament, or they have a torn ACL or torn (MCL), the state won’t perform surgery,” Darryl Parker, Lang’s attorney, told the Everett Herald. “The problem was they assumed that all he had was a torn ACL, when in fact he had a ‘bucket handle’ tear of the meniscus, and you cannot wait on that type of injury because it’s going to get worse. And it got worse.”

Lang told the Herald he did not receive surgery until almost a year after he was injured.

The prison doctor initially told Lang that he likely had torn his ACL. A nurse requested an X-ray instead of an MRI.

It was not until almost a year later that Lang finally received an orthopedic consult with an outside provider and received an MRI.

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That exam confirmed the ACL tear and a meniscus tear. A month later, he underwent surgery for his torn meniscus. About 70% of his meniscus was so badly damaged it had to be removed.

“The liability to me was crystal clear,” Parker said. “I don’t think they would have paid out $250,000 if they didn’t do anything wrong.”

Lang was in prison on a first-degree robbery conviction. He was playing in a prison basketball tournament.

The suit also included medical providers Dr. Kenneth Sawyer and nurse Marquetta Washington. Lang settled with the state in July, then privately settled with the nurse in late 2023. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

A prison spokesperson declined to comment on the outcome of the case.

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Man settles for $250k with WA state prisons after injury from basketball game