Posts Tagged ‘prisoners’

His reputation to protect

Defamation-suit Hall of Fame: a New Zealand prisoner serving a life sentence for the notoriously brutal murder of a 17-year-old girl has won cash compensation from newspapers which described him as a rapist. “Andrew Ronald MacMillan was granted legal aid – a government- funded scheme which allows people who cannot afford legal representation to get a lawyer – to sue Fairfax Media, publishers of New Zealand newspapers The Press and Dominion Post, for defamation and punitive damages.” The victim, whose body was discovered nearly naked, had suffered violence in intimate places, but authorities never charged MacMillan with rape in the case. (“Murderer gets compensation from paper over rape allegation”, DPA/, Apr. 10). Two and a half years ago MacMillan won $1200 for hurt feelings and humiliation because the Corrections Department had not shown him the text of a letter accusing him of misbehavior while on prison furlough. (Bridget Carter, “‘Hurt feelings’ win killer $1200 compensation”, New Zealand Herald, Aug. 23, 2004).

February 20 roundup

  • Trucker-friendly Arizona legislature declines to ban naked lady mudflaps [; Houstonist]
  • Crumb of approbation dept.: I’m “[not] as unreasonable as most of the tort-reform crowd” [Petit]
  • Sponsors of large banquets in D.C. must pay to have a paramedic on hand even when the banquet crowd consists of doctors [ShopFloor]
  • Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover homewrecking: umbrella policy doesn’t create duty to defend lawsuit claiming the insured broke up someone’s marriage (Pins v. State Farm (PDF), S. Dak., Mayerson via Elefant)
  • New York mag on RFK Jr.: Is there some law saying all press profiles of America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® must be weirdly softball in nature and glide over his embarrassing book and rants, his Osama-pig farm lunacy, his anti-vaccine humbug, his trial-lawyer entanglements and even the wind farm flap?
  • Australia court rules Muslim prison inmate suffered discrimination and deserves money for being served canned halal meat rather than fresh [The Australian]
  • High medical costs and their causes: am I listening? [Coyote]
  • Economists may puzzle their heads over the ultimate incidence of business taxes, but in Wisconsin it’s whatever Gov. Jim Doyle says it is [Krumm via Taranto]
  • Feds may punish Red Sox pitcher Matsuzaka for doing a beer ad in Japan, where it’s perfectly legal for athletes to appear in such [To The People]
  • Guns in company parking lots: still one of the rare issues where the ABA manages to be righter than the NRA [AP/; see Apr. 6, 2006]
  • Thanks, NYC taxpayers: Brooklyn jury awards $16 million against city in case where drugged-up motorist jumped sidewalk and ran over pedestrians, later blaming the accident on a city sanitation truck [seven years ago on Overlawyered]

UK: “Payout for inmates forced off heroin”

Great Britain: “The Government was accused of ‘caving in’ over drugs yesterday following the disclosure that the Home Office is about to pay out tens of thousands of pounds to prisoners because they were forced to stop taking heroin or other opiates in jail. ….The inmates, who were dependent either on heroin or the heroin substitute methadone, claimed they suffered ‘trespass’ and clinical negligence by the Prison Service in being forced to endure ‘short, sharp’ detoxification programmes resulting in ‘cold turkey’ symptoms. They were said by their lawyers to be ‘upset’ by the short time they were allowed to stay on opiate drugs while on remand or following the start of sentences.” And in case you were wondering: “The claimants’ case is being funded by taxpayers through legal aid.” (Neil Tweedie, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 13; Dominic Kennedy, “Payouts for prison drug addicts”, Times Online, Nov. 13). More: James Slack & Matthew Hickley, “Outrage after drug-addicted convicts get £700,000 compensation”, Daily Mail, Nov. 13.

U.K.: “Inmate sues for falling from bunk”

A prisoner at Bullingdon near Bicester, Oxfordshire, “is suing the Prison Service after he cut himself falling from the top bunk in his cell”. The inmate told a prisoners’ magazine that bunk beds were “an accident waiting to happen”. (BBC, Aug. 27). As Ted noted Aug. 16, a New Jersey appeals court recently overturned a jury verdict awarded to a student who fell from a loft bed, ruling the dangers obvious.

Cruel and Unusual Sex

Elevating the quality of prisoner-initiated Constitutional claims, Boxer X claims that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when he was “forced” by a female guard to masturbate in front of her.

The 11th Circuit denied rehearing en banc a review of the lower court’s decision that this did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.


“£2.8m award for prisoner who tried to kill himself”

More woes in British crime and punishment: “Compensation payments to prisoners have doubled in the last year to more than £4 million, while the total legal bill to the Prison Service has reached £20 million a year, The Times has learnt.” (Richard Ford, The Times (London), May 19). A couple of recent prisoner-suicide suits in the U.S.: Apr. 17, Apr. 28.

Attempts suicide on Death Row, wants $35M from jailers

Ronnie Joe Neal, who got to Texas’s Death Row by committing a particularly heinous sex murder, says Bexar County jailers didn’t act speedily enough to save him after he attempted suicide by downing 50 prescription tablets. So he wants $35 million in his civil rights lawsuit, in which he’s represented by attorney James Myart. (Ken Rodriguez, “Alamo Heights teacher’s killer wants $35 million worth of ‘justice'”, San Antonio Express-News, Apr. 21). Similar: Apr. 17.

Police sued over jail suicide

Illinois: “The mother of a Granville man who shot himself last year at the Spring Valley Jail has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, the police chief and a former police officer.” Robert “Steve” McFadin, placed in a holding cell after being charged with violating an order of protection against his estranged wife, wrested away the gun of former Spring Valley police officer Thomas Quartucci and beat him. When Quartucci fled the cell, McFadin used the gun to shoot himself. Quartucci, who was admitted to intensive care after the beating and remained on workers’ comp until retirement, is among the defendants in the suit, which “was filed on [Lori] Hafley’s behalf by Miskell Law Center of Ottawa and the Berkland Law Office of Marseilles. The suit alleges Quartucci violated procedure when he did not secure his loaded weapon before entering the cell. The suit also alleges actions taken by the officers at Spring Valley led to McFadin’s death.” (Erinn Deshinsky, “Mother of suicide victim sues police”, Peoria Journal-Star, Apr. 7). The suit seeks $15 million (John Thompson, “Mother sues Spring Valley, police”, La Salle News Tribune, Apr. 5; Dan Churney, “Police officers named in suicide suit”, Ottawa Times, Apr. 13).

“Court bars rapist from suing victim”


A Superior Court judge in New London Friday permanently barred a convicted rapist who had harassed his victim with a series of legal actions from filing further lawsuits without the permission of a judge. Judge Clarance J. Jones issued a permanent injunction against Allen Adgers, who is serving a 13-year sentence for kidnapping and raping his former wife at knife-point, said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose office sought the order….

[The wife] moved six times, but Adgers was able to learn her new address each time by filing a legal action that resulted in her being served with a subpoena. As part of the subpoena process, Adgers would get a receipt recording the address where service was made. He sent her harassing letters, which has added four years to his original 13-year sentence. But he still was allowed to force his former wife into court. Acting as his own attorney, the rapist was able to question and taunt his victim….

Blumenthal said that Adgers, in addition to harassing his victim, also filed 16 frivolous lawsuits against government officials since 2001. That will end with the order issued Friday.

(Mark Pazniokas, “Judge Halts Rape Victim’s Ordeal”, Hartford Courant, Feb. 25). Jonathan B. Wilson, who spotted the case, says one lesson — given that it took a situation this extreme to trigger an injunction — is that the system is likely to allow a great deal of litigation abuse in less facially outrageous cases: “So long as plaintiffs have the capacity of filng suit and engaging in discovery without satisfying any minimal standard of justification, unscrupulous plaintiffs will be able to use the compulsive power of the courts to impose frustration and costs on defendants.” (Feb. 26).

Thanks, Palmer & Dodge

For stepping forward to represent the prison grievances of one of Massachusetts’s most infamous killers, Daniel LaPlante, supposedly on a pro bono basis; for your skill at turning into a civil rights claim LaPlante’s complaints that jailers were intercepting the pornographic pictures he was being sent in the mail, and that a guard had stolen his shower shoes; and for the smoothness with which you turned your supposedly pro bono efforts into a profit opportunity after you prevailed, submitting a $125,000 bill to state taxpayers of which federal judge Nancy Gertner approved $99,981. “We did it as efficiently as we could,” claimed George Olson [no relation], a partner at the elite Boston firm. “When we took the case, we didn’t expect to be compensated.” Thanks for that too! (Brian McGrory, “Injustice for almost all”, Boston Globe, Sept. 16).