In a lawsuit filed on March 29, 2016, a twenty-year old Middlesex County man said that he was made to fight other inmates “for the enjoyment and entertainment of Cumberland County Detention Center guards” when he was 15 and incarcerated at the Center.
Edward Scanlon, IV, said that he “suffered serious injuries” at the Sunnyslope Drive, Bridgeton facility and claimed that guards and jail officials subjected him to a “blatant abuse of power and authority and inhumane and punitive treatment.” He claimed that he was forced “to fight other inmates as [the guards] sat and watch” and that the guards “even tripped [him] several times.”
Named in Scanlon’s lawsuit are Valeria Lawson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission; Felix Mickens, the Commission’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations; Detention Center Warden Robert Balicki; Detention Center heads Veronica Surrency and Michael Baruzza and several “John Doe” defendants.
The lawsuit was originally filed in Cumberland County Superior Court but was later transferred to the United States District Court where it bears Case No. 1:16-cv-04465.
On September 29, 2020, U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb dismissed all of what remained of the case. In her opinion, she stated “What happened to Plaintiff Scanlon, however, should never have happened, and should never happen again to anyone. * * * Unfortunately, the individual allegedly responsible for Plaintiff Scanlon’s injuries was not sued timely, and that should never happen again.” On Oct 29, 2020, Scanlon filed a Notice of Appeal.