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$35,000 Awarded to CA Prisoner in Beating Suit

On October 14, 1999, U.S. district court judge Susan Illston ruled that three Pelican Bay state prison guards had violated the Eighth amendment rights of prisoner Ricky Gray. Gray had filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that while being unhandcuffed one of the guards pulled on the loose handcuff to cause pain, and when he protested, pulled Gray out of his cell and beat him. The case went to trial before judge Illston on July 19, 1999.

In her unpublished ruling for Gray, judge Illston held that the defendants "deliberately provoked Mr. Gray, through pulling on the loosened handcuff, in order to justify opening his cell and subduing him with painful force." The court held that the defendants' description of events was "...implausible. The physical descriptions were inconsistent and, when demonstrated in court with the actual holding cage,..physically unlikely."

The court awarded Gray $25,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in damages against two of the guards. The award totaled $35,000. The defendants later settled the case and dismissed their appeal. The settlement includes the $35,000 in damages for Gray and $80,000 in attorney fees and cost, for a total fee and damage award of $115,000." Gray was represented by appointed counsel from the firm of Morrison and Foerster. See: Gray v. Deneau, USDC, ND CA. Case Number C92-3621-SI.

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Related legal case

Gray v. Deneau