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Eye doctor convicted of hiring hit man sues state after prison beating



A Tucson eye doctor convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his former business partner has filed a $750,000 claim against the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Bradley Schwartz’s attorney, Brick Storts, said Schwartz was attacked four times by other inmates in a one-year period while being housed in the department’s Rincon Unit, 10000 S. Wilmot Road.

That latest attack on Sept. 27 sent Schwartz to a Phoenix hospital for more than a week. His injuries included fractured eye sockets that have left him blind in one eye and a broken nose, Storts said.

“He’s got very severe, permanent injuries,” Storts said.

The claim was filed Saturday. If the DOC doesn’t settle the claim within a year, Storts said, he will file a lawsuit.

Schwartz had been placed with the general population prisoners at Rincon, some of whom had a history of assaults, the claim letter states.

General population inmates generally share cells, have a set time to congregate outside and are able to interact with each other.

Storts had sent at least three letters to the director of the unit expressing concern about Schwartz’s safety and a lack of supervision at the time of the assaults.

Schwartz was attacked in an unmonitored corridor, Storts said.

When Schwartz was released from the Maricopa Medical Center, where he received care for his injuries, including plastic surgery, he was placed in a segregated unit in Florence, Storts said. The segregated unit provides more security and less interaction with other prisoners, he said.

The Department of Corrections refused to comment on the claim.

Storts also is asking DOC to look into the actions of a doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital who Storts said refused to treat Schwartz after the September attack and sent Schwartz to the hospital in Phoenix.

“The prison cannot tolerate such breaches by treating physicians; an independent investigation of this incident is required by your department,” Schwartz’s claim states.

Any settlement money would go to Schwartz’s family, Storts said.

Schwartz was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the stabbing death of Dr. Brian Stidham. Schwartz was sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 25 years. Bruce Bigger, who was found guilty of killing Stidham, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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