Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

CDC Whistleblower Gets $1.7 Million

A former California Department of Corrections (CDC) guard who reported the Corcoran State Prison "gladiator fight" shootings to the FBI, resulting in the indictment of eight other Corcoran guards, has been paid $1.7 million by the state.

Richard Caruso, 35, sued the CDC in 1997 alleging that it unfairly disciplined him and failed to protect him from threats and harassment after he told the FBI that Corcoran prison guards staged prisoner fights and then shot combatants. The $1.7 million paid to Caruso is the largest settlement ever paid to a state employee whistleblower, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The settlement was prompted by California's new governor, Gray Davis, who felt that settling Caruso's retaliation suit made more sense than continuing to pay attorneys to defend the state, according to The Bee.

During internal investigations into the Corcoran shootings, Caruso was the only guard CDC filed a disciplinary action against. In addition to charging retaliation by the CDC, Caruso has repeatedly said that he was completely abandoned by his union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA).

"He feels they left him out to hang," one of Caruso's attorneys, Leroy Lounibos, told The Bee. "He had a duty to report all crimes he sees, but the union has an exception, apparently, that you don't report crimes committed by fellow officers. It feeds the public's perception that the union is a bloated, arrogant monolith that is spewing the mother's milk of politics and money."

Sacramento Bee

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Case Name Unknown