MARQUETTE (WWJ/AP) – An inmate who blames prison officials for his gum disease is going to trial after the state rejected his request to be released early as a way to settle the case.

Jerry Flanory is suing over his time at the Newberry prison in the Upper Peninsula. The 60-year-old says he was denied toothpaste, and as a result developed gum disease that led to the removal of a tooth.

The Corrections Department denies the allegations, saying Flanory had only five of the typical 32 adult teeth when he entered in 2004. A trial is set for May 21 in federal court in Marquette.

In a court filing, the state says Flanory offered to drop the case if he could leave prison before the maximum date of his sentence, December 2013. The state said no.

according to court documents, Flanory was disciplined by losing his indigent status at the prison after an altercation, which meant he had to pay for his own toothpaste. Flanory said he couldn’t afford it and as a result, went 337 days without using toothpaste.

Flanory who is currently on parole, is acting as his own lawyer and is seeking at least $350,000 in damages.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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