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Court: Prison officials can't be sued

BISMARCK (AP) -- A federal appeals court says four North Dakota state penitentiary officials cannot be sued by an inmate who claimed they failed to prevent an attack by a fellow inmate.

James Norman's lawsuit alleged prison officials should have protected him from a September 2005 assault that left him with a cut above the eye, a broken nose, abrasions and a concussion.

The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Warden Tim Schuetzle, prison director of education Dan Wrolstad, and case workers Marc Schwehr and Mary Materi are legally protected from Norman's lawsuit. The four had appealed a lower court ruling that Norman had the right to sue them.