Dozens of lawsuits filed against prisoner transport company involved in Cleveland escape

Posted at 10:02 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 09:02:43-04

On Your Side Investigators found more than three dozen federal lawsuits filed against PTS of America, the private prisoner transportation company based in Nashville, Tennessee hired to transport a prisoner who escaped from custody in Cleveland early Wednesday morning.

The complaints include three wrongful death lawsuits, including one involving a Butler County, Ohio man. His family alleged he died in the company's custody after PTS employees assaulted him or failed to stop an assault against him in Georgia back in 2012.

According to court records, 32 of the lawsuits were filed by prisoners who alleged they were abused or hurt being transported by the company. 

On its website, PTS of America says it is the nation's largest extradition company and transports more than 100,000 detainees each year.

The company says it "maintains an excellent safety record" and "customers rave about reliability."

The company says it assists prosecutors' offices, parole and probation agencies, and police department around the country, among other agencies.

Its cliente include the Crawford County, Pennsylvania District Attorney's office. District Attorney Francis Schultz told us he has used PTS of America to transport prisoners for years. He said he has never had a problem with a transport until Wesley Massey, 34, escaped from a car rental facility near Cleveland-Hopkins Airport Wednesday morning.

On Your Side Investigators reached out to PTS of America one dozen times Wednesday. No one returned our calls.

Our team also reached out to Anthony Griffin, the PTS employee charged with transporting Massey from Florida to Pennsylvania. Griffin hung up before we could ask any questions.

According to a police report, Massey escaped after Griffin left him unattended in a restroom.