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The 4th District Court of Appeal revived a lawsuit by a sex offender suing his jailers for replacing double-edge razors with single-blade razors, ruling Wednesday that the case could not be dismissed without hearing his claim of bad faith against prison operator Geo Group. Alonzo P. Newsome, who is held under the Jimmy Ryce Act at the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, complained the new razors provided in March 2008 caused “extreme bumping, scarring, bleeding, cutting, (and) skin irritation on (his) face and scalp.” Facility administrator Timothy Budz switched razors because residents “were at high risk for self-harm,” razor blades had been removed to use as weapons, and razors were sold and bartered among inmates. Newsome’s complaint about the single-blade razors was dismissed by management. Although Budz defended the safety of the single-blade razor, he switched back to the double-edge blades the next month. Despite that, Newsome sued Budz and GEO Group in October 2008, claiming negligence for failing to take immediate action. The defendants asked that the case be disposed of because the claims were baseless and because they were entitled to statutory immunity as agents of the state acting in good faith. During a telephone hearing, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Thomas Barkdull III granted their motion for judgment. The panel ordered additional review. The unsigned opinion from Judges Martha Warner, Carole Taylor and Burton Conner explained the issue of whether defendants’ actions constituted good faith could not be determined through a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

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