Seeking an end to Florida Department of Corrections’ use of pepper spray on asthmatic inmates.

I am representing an inmate in his civil rights case. The goal is a change in FDOC policy, and an award of damages and attorneys fees. The Plaintiff started his case pro se, and now has the benefit of an attorney to amend his initial complaints. The case is in the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Division: 15-CV-150, Charlie Nattiel v. Lott, et al.

Asthma is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Pepper spray is a chemical that triggers asthma symptoms in asthmatic individuals. Plaintiff Charlie Nattiel is an inmate in the care and control of the Florida Department of Corrections (“FDOC”). FDOC and its officials made a deliberate decision to spray Mr. Nattiel with pepper spray despite their knowledge of his asthma and despite their knowledge of the inherent risks pepper spray poses to asthmatics. Their use of force served no penological purpose, but was instead an act of retaliation. Mr. Nattiel was beaten by a corrections officer for retaliatory purposes; Mr. Natteil had filed formal grievances against that officer and was placed in fear for his life because of exercising his First Amendment right to “write writs.” After being beaten and shoved into a secured 3 foot by 6 foot cell, he was sprayed with a full can of pepper spray while prison officials laughed and made racial slurs. He was then made to sit in these chemicals without a shower for 30 minutes. This asthmatic person suffered nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment – torture – at the hands of FDOC and its officials and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as actual, compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages for his physical injuries and mental anguish.

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