LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge has refused to dismiss most of a former prison inmate’s allegations that the government was negligent in exposing him to a potentially deadly disease while he was incarcerated in California.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess’ written ruling, issued Thursday, could clear the way for a trial for Arjang Panah as early as next year, said his attorney, Ian Wallach. Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to email and phone messages left Saturday.

Panah was sentenced to prison in 2004 for dealing methamphetamine. He was originally incarcerated in New York but was transferred to the Taft Correctional Institution in California’s Central Valley in 2005. It was there that he contracted Coccidioidomycosis, or cocci, more commonly known as Valley Fever. The disease is caused by a fungus found in soil, particularly in the southwestern United States.

Wallach says the U.S. government was negligent in putting Panah in a prison where it knew the disease was rampant and not warning him.

“The government had an obligation to provide a safe place for him,” Wallach said in a phone interview. “What they did instead was they released him into a place where there was an outbreak of illness.”

Panah has since been released from prison and has a job but continues to suffer from the illness, Wallach said.

“He’s going to require lifelong treatment, and it’s a potentially fatal illness,” the attorney said, adding he didn’t want to release too much more information about Panah out of concern for his privacy.

Wallach said Panah will seek unspecified damages for pain and suffering, as well as for his medical treatment and for missed work time.

No trial date has been set.

In his ruling, Feess said the government’s immunity from prosecution in such cases does not extend to matters where it knows someone is in danger and does nothing about it.

“In short, the discretionary function exception test does not apply to plaintiff’s negligence claims to the extent they are based on defendants’ failure to warn of the cocci outbreak,” the judge said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (67)
  1. anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous2 says:

    If it’s BROWN, flush it!!!!!
    …And the rest of his liberal policies/connections!!!!!!

  3. anonymous2,2 says:

    And the BEATS…go on….what a bunch of losers that support CRIMINALS, and destroy society by these kinds of liberal policies…

    Sounds pretty much like SOMEONE is getting ready to open another overseas offshore account for the amount they will be raking in for THIS CAUSE!!!!!

  4. Howard Farnstrom says:

    II believe the court should pay all costs. It was their decisions

  5. Janiece says:

    This is totally unacceptable. This low life is in jail for not following the law. He should have no rights. And as far as the judge, he needs to be disbarred for even considering letting this go to court and wasting tax payers money.

  6. Scott Ostrander says:

    oh just think BAD California, you kept him alive. on the streets he would most likely be dead or someones doorstop. these judges need to grow a pair. quit letting these inmates run over this state and the tax payers.

  7. Crazy says:

    The judge has dementia, time for retirement. The criminal is an idiot. You broke the law, you get no rights. Why your out on the street is ridiculous in itself. Now, your whining and want to sue because you got sick in prison? It’s not a paradise, you get what you get. Suffer.

  8. Peter Mendez says:

    what is happening is the green wall union is getting exposed an when the bribe money dont cut it the wife of the dead prison guard will want more funds so eat those apples cuz ur gonna pay anyway u look at it u commie suckers

  9. Peter Mendez says:

    who released this bio warfare agent of srores , r was it from enviromentalist who mapped the grapevine, they used central valley for a landfill wow us americans r so loving, u judge, but dont cry bout rights when u got to bury ur son r girl r better yet ur pet. INBRED TRASH

  10. chris says:

    it would be nice if most of you posting would read up on the Valley Fever. It s not from not bathing or not taking care of yourself. What kind of people post about losing all your rights when you go to prison.? Goodness sakes. Are we not all gods children? When did it become our job to cast stones at others? You have no clue why these people are inside. Whoever posted about the medical inside has NO clue. If you have a cavity of bad tooth they pull them out,,, I know a man who just died because he had a black spot on his tongue for 2 years they would not treat him he died of cancer. His crime was a drug charge. So really people do you have to be so angry and mean.. unless you are part of the green wall which btw those people are very angry and bitter. Most of them were treated poorly as children who never healed……So really do they get what they get and should they be punished on top if the sentence??? You people make ME SICK ….But watch you will soon have a loved one inside and than you will be crying boohoo why us ……

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