Court employees, families sue CoreCivic after scabies outbreak - WSMV News 4

Court employees, families sue CoreCivic after scabies outbreak

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Scabies is an itchy, contagious disease spread by skin-to-skin contact. (WSMV) Scabies is an itchy, contagious disease spread by skin-to-skin contact. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Officers, lawyers and their families have filed a lawsuit claiming the company CoreCivic didn’t do enough to protect them from a scabies outbreak.

Scabies is an itchy, contagious disease that's spread by skin-to-skin contact.

"The idea that you have an insect, a mite, that has burrowed under your skin and creates little tracts is revolting. I don't know how else to describe it," said Gary Blackburn an attorney who filed a class action lawsuit Thursday afternoon.

Blackburn expects to represent at least 40 plaintiffs because while the scabies outbreak started in the women's prison on Nashville's Harding Road, it has now spread to several Davidson County court employees and their families.

"There's going to be children who are involved in this. One of my clients was quarantined and consequently was unable to attend his daughter's rehearsal dinner the night before her wedding," Blackburn said.

CoreCivic is the company that manages the prison. They said they notified the health department of the problem immediately, but those suing CoreCivic allege the company knew much sooner.

"We believe at least in April they were aware of this problem," Blackburn said.

CoreCivic notified the health department on May 17.

Thursday afternoon Channel 4 obtained a court transcript from a hearing two days later.

An inmate told Judge Steve Dozier about a rash she had had for four months. Someone else spoke up saying 80 other women in the facility were being treated as well.

In open court Judge Dozier quipped, "We need to get an I-Team special report on them out there."

Channel 4 is now looking into it.

"This is a serious public health matter and it doesn't need to be treated lightly," Blackburn said.

CoreCivic denied our request for an on camera interview. Instead they sent a statement saying:

While we don't comment on pending litigation, the health and safety of our staff, community and those entrusted to our care is our top priority. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office and the Metro Public Health Department were notified of this issue from the start, and they have been engaged every step of the way. In situations like this, we work hard to follow all protocols and guidelines to mitigate the issue.

Meanwhile, we're told court offices and vehicles are being cleaned. One of the court dockets had to be postponed last week and several people have had to miss work because they had to be quarantined.

Metro employees are being told to get treated at the injured on duty clinic.

Channel 4 has learned their family members are now able to get treatment at the Metro Health Department for free.  

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