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Plaintiff: Robin Robinson

Defendant: D.C. government

Damages Sought: Compensatory and exemplary damages, legal fees ‚other unspecified relief

Complaint: Four inmates had a great idea. They would smuggle a gun into jail, shoot one another, then tell the guards that an unknown gunman had done it. This would put them in position to sue the D.C. government for negligence. Robinson, who had been transferred from federal prison, wasn’t at all part of the scheme. He just heard the gunshots. As he started toward his cell for safety, though, he couldn’t get in: One of the conspirators was lying in front of it, bleeding from his lower body. Then another inmate with a gun came out of nowhere and pistol-whipped him. Robinson took blows to the eye and the right side of his face before he went down. The gunman walked away.

Quality of Representation: Fair to good. The amended complaint, by attorney James Quincy Butler, is a big improvement on Robinson’s original. Where Robinson had simply written that he got attacked and has nightmares, Butler provides context. He even uses a U.S. Attorney’s press release to lay out the phony-lawsuit scheme. Smart move: The flack’s sentences are better than Butler’s own.

Summary Judgment: Wait a second….So some inmates hatch a scheme to sue the jail for negligence. Then they hurt Robinson. Now Robinson sues for negligence. Forgive us our skepticism. But, then again, there’s a reason those inmates concocted a conspiracy to take the D.C. Jail to court. So long as its inmates stab one another with impunity, escape without trouble, or die without proper medical attention, we have no choice but to consider as valid complaints as ridiculous as this one. Judgment for plaintiff.