A Clark County Jail inmate who was housed at the facility for about three weeks earlier this year is suing the jail and an associated health care provider in federal court for allegedly failing to provide him with gluten-free food, which resulted in illness and hospitalization.
Gaven Picciano was held at the jail from Jan. 30 to Feb. 20 and, despite having Celiac disease, did not have safe access to food suiting his ailment, according to a news release from the law office of Stein and Vargas.
The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. It alleges that the jail denied Picciano’s repeated requests for gluten-free food. The listed defendants are the jail and NaphCare Inc.
“This discriminatory treatment and failure to provide a reasonable dietary accommodation resulted in illness, loss of consciousness, hospitalization, the loss of approximately 10 percent of body weight, and short- and long-term damage and injury,” the complaint says.
Picciano notified jail officials of his medical condition, requested an appropriate diet and signed off on the release of his medical records to prove it, according to the law firm. Jail officials are accused of refusing to provide the food and instructing Picciano to trade other inmates for bananas.
“Even after Mr. Picciano was finally approved for a gluten-free diet, he was nevertheless served food containing gluten further exacerbating his symptoms,” the law firm said.
Picciano is demanding a jury trial and for the court to award him compensatory and punitive damages.
Federal court records show the county and NaphCare have been served court summons. They have about three weeks to file a response to the allegations.
Picciano pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to amended charges of attempted unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault and malicious mischief, all domestic violence-related. He received a sentence amounting to the three weeks he’d already spent in the jail.