In 2013, Ndiawar Diop, while working a licensed vocational nurse at the California Institution for Men in Chino, provided insulin to inmate George Philpott. After Philpott injected himself, he returned the needle through an opening in a window. Diop then placed the used needle into a container used for disposing of needles.
Philpott observed Diop put his hand into the container and get poked. Philpott called for a correctional officer to avoid getting in trouble. Upon seeing Diop prick himself, Philpott exclaimed, ‘I have Hep C.’ Philpott admitted that he did not like Diop, but claimed that he never attacked, injured,or threatened him.
Diop was treated for the needle stick, and completed an intake form at U.S. Healthworks stating that after and inmate injection he got poked by his needle on his right index finger while taking the needle back from him 2 hours ago.
Seven months later, Diop was evaluated and treated by mental health professionals. At this point the history morphed into an attack by the prisoner. Then later during a permanent and stationary evaluation the story morphed even more to a claim that he was “attacked by this inmate with a syringe” and for the first time, he claimed the inmate tried to stab him in the neck.
The change from an accidental to an intentional mechanism of injury affected the claim’s monetary value because, beginning in 2013, a claimant could not receive permanent disability for a stress-related claim unless it was the result of a “violent act” and stress was originally claimed as an injury.
A jury convicted him of five counts of insurance fraud and one count of attempted perjury in connection with his workers’ compensation claim. The Court of Appeal affirmed in the unpublished case of People v. Diop.
Diop contended on appeal that: (1) the evidence fails to support his convictions; (2) the trial court made many evidentiary errors; (3) the court erred in failing to unseal juror identification information; (4) the court erred in failing to instruct on the defense of mistake of fact; and (5) the court erred by denying his motion for new trial.
The Court of Appeal reviewed, and then rejected each one of these arguments. It then concluded the “evidence demonstrates that defendant’s account of how he was injured by an inmate’s dirty needle changed from accidental to intentional. From this evidence, it was reasonable for the jury to conclude that defendant knowingly made a false material statement for the purpose of obtaining greater workers’ compensation benefits.”