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New York Retaliation Suit Nets $100,000 in Damages

On April 28, 1999 a federal jury awarded $25,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages to New York prisoner Ronald Maurer.

Three years earlier Maurer filed a pro se complaint claiming that he had been subjected to retaliation for trying to expose corruption at Sing Sing state prison. Maurer said he was falsely accused of disciplinary violations and placed in segregation after he complained that a sergeant on the Inmate Grievance Resolution Committee had thrown away prisoners' grievances.

After filing a complaint about the discarded grievances, Maurer was infracted for a series of disciplinary charges, including trying to organize a protest against double bunking. He claimed in his lawsuit that Lt. Robert Patterson had fabricated and then found him guilty of that charge.

Maurer spent 210 days in solitary as a result of the disciplinary conviction; he was later exonerated by a prison superintendent and transferred to Attica.

The jury found that Patterson had violated Maurer's constitutional rights by retaliating against him. David Marriott, an attorney with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the law firm that took over Maurer's case, said the $100,000 award was one of the largest in New York retaliation suits.

New York Times

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Related legal case

Maurer v. _____