Based on a hoax, about 1,800 former Camden County, New Jersey, inmates have filed lawsuits in federal court for spending time in overcrowded cells, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Former inmates are claiming personal injuries from sleeping on floors in cramped, rodent-infested jail cells. According to the rumor, the court will financially compensate them after submitting a complaint.
No one knows how the rumor of financial compensation started, and there’s no end in sight. It continues to spread by people distributing documents that explain how to file a lawsuit. Local prosecutors told The Inquirer that they’re aware of individuals who are charging people for the paperwork.
The federal district court in Camden said people are filing more than eight times the number of civil complaints than they normally do each month, and the courtroom staff is overwhelmed.
U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle told the newspaper that he has dismissed about 500 cases. There’s apparently no dispute that the jail is overcrowded, but the judge said the conditions fail to rise to a level of a constitutional violation.
The Inquirer said in October Simandle posted a notice in the courthouse and in information packets that no settlement money is available. However, that hasn’t stopped the flood of lawsuits. He posted a second notice in November, but the lawsuits keep coming.
SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer