Former S.C. Executioners Sue Prison Officials

Two former South Carolina prison executioners have sued the state's top prison officials in federal court alleging they were forced to conduct executions even though they were not trained to do so. They also claim that had they refused, they would have lost their jobs or been demoted.

Neither man was trained or prepared for using the electric chair, the suits allege, "with its shocking smell and scene of agony." And neither man was offered counseling, the suits allege.

"Although these executions were barbaric, gruesome and repulsive to the plaintiff, he continued to perform them under the implied threat by the defendant Ward that such service was necessary if he was to continue to act as team leader and to receive the salary supplement and other benefits of his major’s position," Baxley’s suit alleges.

You can read their complaints here and here (pdf.)

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    Result should be that the federal (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 04:54:43 PM EST
    lawsuit is barred by worker's compensation.  Also, doesn't sound like a viable cause of action against state officials by state employees for substantive due process violation under 42 U.S.C. section 1983.  The employees were not in custody.  Free to take another job outside the correctional law setting.

    1983 (none / 0) (#2)
    by txpublicdefender on Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 06:24:26 PM EST
    You don't have to be in custody to file a 1983 action.  You just have to allege a violation of your civil rights.  That's how Paula Jones got around the statute of limitations issue for her sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton.  The clock had run out on time to file a standard employment law action, but since her employer was a "state actor," she was able to file under s.1983.  

    True, but their is quite a bit of case law (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 06:43:10 PM EST
    on employees suing their public entity superiors for allegedly harmful or dangerous conditions of work.