$425,000 Settlement First of Its Kind

Los Angeles, Calif.—Following a settlement conference in the chambers of Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams, in Los Angeles, late last week, Jason Feldman and Ian Wallach of Feldman & Wallach, Los Angeles, successfully settled a long-standing case on behalf of their client, Arjang Panah who sued the U. S. Government for not taking reasonable steps to prevent him from contracting an incurable disease—that of Valley Fever.  Today, Judge Gary Allen Feess signed the Order effectively approving the parties’ agreement.

While the government offered no admission of liability, it did agree to settle the case for the unprecedented amount of $425,000, rather than face a court trial which could have resulted in a higher payout. Panah had sued the U.S. Government for several million.

Panah was a former inmate at the Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County, California where he was infected with an incurable and potentially fatal disease known as Coccidiodomycosis (“Valley Fever”). Panah alleged the government failed to provide a safe living environment because it knew of the risk of Valley Fever in the area and did nothing to protect the inmates from infection, and did not even inform the inmates of the outbreak.

According to a declaration filed by attorney Ian Wallach, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) was asked to evaluate and make recommendations for the treatment of 88 inmates who had been diagnosed with Valley Fever in 2003 and 2004 at the Taft prison. However, no measures were implemented that could have prevented inmates from being infected. Panah fell ill shortly after being transferred to Taft. Panah’s illness is presently incurable.

“Our client feels vindicated,” said Feldman, “This award is very meaningful to him and his ability to continue to fight against the effects of this terrible disease.”  According to Wallach, the payout amount will enable his client to move on with some measure of peace of mind. “Throughout this matter, the Government treated our client with nothing but the respect he deserved.  It was a long, hard journey for our client, but he’s now able to live the best life he can and will be better prepared to care for himself.  It was an honor to represent him in this matter.”

Please contact Cherie Kerr, KerrPR, for interview opportunities with Mr. Wallach or Mr. Feldman, as well as Mr. Panah.


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