The 23-year-old's lawyers sent the five-page notice Wednesday to the DEA's chief counsel in Washington. It says Chong's treatment constitutes torture under the law and seeks damages for pain and suffering, future medical and psychiatric treatment, and loss of future earnings.
Chong had been picked up in a drug sweep but was never arrested or charged. He spent four days forgotten in the windowless cell before Drug Enforcement Administration agents opened the door.
"I just couldn't believe that this was legal," Chong said in an interview Wednesday with the Associated Press. "I'm thinking 'no way.'"
After his release, he spent five days in the hospital for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus. He had lost 15 pounds.