Brandon Milam, an openly gay former inmate of the Warren County Regional Jail, is expected to file a lawsuit today in Warren Circuit Court against the jail, Warren County, Jailer Jackie Strode and inmate Timothy Michael Schwartz.
Milam told the Daily News last month that he believes homophobia motivated a jailhouse assault that caused Milam to lose a portion of his nose in July.
Minutes after teaching a group of other inmates how to play the card game hearts, Milam, 26, was sitting on the bottom bunk of the bed in his jail cell when another inmate who lost the game shouted gay slurs before assaulting him July 2, Milam said in September.
That inmate, Schwartz, 41, of Scottsville, is accused of biting off a portion of Milam’s nose, according to court records. A grand jury indicted Schwartz in July on a first-degree assault charge. Schwartz pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a pretrial conference at 1 p.m. Dec. 3.
Activist Jordan Palmer and the Kentucky Equality Federation, a public advocacy organization for victims of discrimination, hate crimes and school bullying, publicly condemned the incident last month and drafted the lawsuit on Milam’s behalf. On Monday, the federation provided the newspaper with a copy of the lawsuit the organization plans to file. The suit couldn’t be filed Monday due to a furlough day for state judicial workers.
Warren County Regional Jail Responds
“We haven’t been served yet. Until the county is properly served, I don’t feel comfortable making a comment,” Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken said, speaking on behalf of both the county and the county jail.
In September, Milam told the Daily News he would need four surgical procedures to repair his nose, with the first estimated to cost $26,000.
Milam is no longer answering questions from the media, said Jordan Palmer, the federation’s president. “He is embarrassed to be seen in public,” Palmer said. “At this point, he is just hoping that this will be resolved quickly so that he can have this reconstructive surgery.”
The lawsuit alleges that the jail failed to protect Milam from harm by allowing him to remain in a protective custody cell with other inmates who are prejudiced against homosexuals. It further alleges negligence and “intentional infliction of emotional distress and outrageous conduct,” jailer’s breach of duty and common law bad faith and breach of fiduciary duty.
“He has lost his sense of smell,” Palmer said. “He is still awaiting reconstructive surgery” and is undergoing therapy to cope with the nightmares about the attack.
Milam is asking in his lawsuit for a jury trial, compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees and interest.
At the time of the incident. Milam was serving time for a probation violation before being released to home incarceration July 10, he said.
Schwartz, who remains in jail, faces charges in a separate case of theft by unlawful taking of property valued at $10,000 or greater, devising or engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medical Assistance Program of $300 or more and five counts of third-degree forgery.