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Man's Suit Alleges He Wasn't Protected in Jail

July 31, 1996

SANTA ANA — A former inmate at the Orange County Central Men's Jail has sued the county, alleging he was severely beaten by another inmate last December despite a formal request for protection from the assailant.

Jerry Joseph Diak, 35, asked to be housed separately from another inmate on Dec. 16, saying he had "a case pending" against the man and "this is going to be trouble, I just know it" according to the suit filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

Diak's suit contends that a deputy responded to the request by writing "To [sic] bad!" on the request form.

Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Tom Garner said his department had not seen the lawsuit and does not generally discuss pending suits.

Diak alleged the other inmate was in jail for previously attacking him with an ax.

Two days after Diak's separation request, the other inmate and several other prisoners hit and kicked him in the jail's day room "for some 45 minutes," according to the suit.

In his lawsuit, Diak, who was awaiting a court hearing on a misdemeanor charge, says he suffered broken cheekbones, neurological damage, broken teeth, broken ribs and a broken right arm and hand, as well as mental distress.

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