Call it a case of mousetrophobia.
Jacqueline Johnson, a guard at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, says she was traumatized to the point of needing medical care when a fellow guard shoved a mouse in her face.
In a suit filed yesterday in county Circuit Court, the Perry Hallwoman charges guard Troy Jones with negligence, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to the suit, Johnson's problems began about 6 a.m. on July 6, 1990, when Jones approached her with the tobacco container and insisted she open it. When Johnson refused, the man opened the container and gave her a close-up view of a live mouse, the suit claims.
The woman charges Jones was aware of her dread of small rodents but had repeatedly threatened to one day "throw a mouse on her."
"In light of (Jones') prior knowledge of Jacqueline Johnson's heightened sensitivity to and fear of mice,he acted in an extreme and outrageous manner," the suit contends.
Jones was not at work yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
In each of the four counts in the suit, Johnson asks for $100,000 in compensatory damages for medical bills and lost wages. In two ofthe counts, she also seeks $200,000 in punitive damages.
To hear Jeffrey J. Plum tell it, the suit is no Mickey Mouse complaint. Plum,an attorney representing Johnson, said the woman has had to undergo psychiatric treatment at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Towson because of the incident.
The lawyer added, "She's been thrown off a lot."