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$30,000 Awarded to NY Prisoner Slashed in Attack

On September 15, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded $30,000 in damages to New York state prisoner Mario Vasquez. In 1995, Vasquez was slashed in a stairwell at Collins Correctional Facility by two knife-wielding prisoners. The day before the attack, Vasquez was involved in a fistfight with another prisoner. Afterwards, Vasquez was told by other prisoners who claimed to be gang members, that he should either seek a transfer to a different prison or protective custody.

Vasquez checked into Protective Custody (pc). After a disciplinary hearing, he was also found guilty of fighting and scheduled for a transfer to a different prison. For unknown reasons, Vasquez was then released from PC while at Collins and he was attacked. At a liability trial, the state of New York was found liable for the attack because prison officials failed to explain why Vasquez was released to the prison's general population after the decision to transfer him had been made, the risk to his safety was known and he had asked for protective custody.

In this trial, the sole issue was the amount of damages to which Vasquez was entitled. The court awarded Vasquez $20,000 for past pain and suffering and $10,000 for future pain and suffering. Vasquez suffered an eight-inch cut to his neck requiring 19 stitches and a 17-inch cut to his cheek requiring 19 stitches. Vasquez represented himself pro se at both trials in this case. Vasquez v. State of New York, Claim Number 92559, Court of Claims, Buffalo.

Source: NY Jury Verdict Reporter

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Related legal case

Vasquez v. State of New York