Mich. inmate loses trial over bad teeth

By: Associeated Press Email
By: Associeated Press Email

Four years of litigation has ended with a one-day trial: A jury says Michigan prison officials are not responsible for an inmate's dental problems.

Jurors returned the verdict Monday in Marquette federal court. Jerry Flanory claims he lost a tooth in 2006 and suffered gum disease because he was denied toothpaste as a punishment for not attending prison classes.

But the Corrections Department had evidence that Flanory's bad tooth wasn't a new problem. He had only five of the typical 32 teeth when he entered prison. Officials said he had access to toothpaste.

Flanory's lawsuit alleging cruel punishment was dismissed as frivolous in 2009, but an appeals court reinstated it. The 60-year-old from Flint served as his own attorney.

The Corrections Department now can recover some trial costs from Flanory.

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