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CCA Settles New Mexico "Failure To Protect" Suit For $41,885

CCA Settles New Mexico "Failure To Protect" Suit For $41,885

In February 2001, representatives for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) agreed to settle a prisoner lawsuit for $41,885. Marco Lopez filed the suit in a federal district court in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after he was beaten by rioting prisoners while trying to save a guard.

On August 17, 1999, Lopez was a pre-trial prisoner at the Torrance County New Mexico Detention Facility (TCDF), which is owned and operated by CCA.

Lopez was doing his tier porter job when 45 prisoners, some under federal death penalty charges, rioted on the yard. There was only one guard supervising the prisoners who rioted.

The rioters entered the unit where Lopez was working and began assaulting other prisoners and guards. When Lopez intervened to save a guard, the rioters beat him as well.

The lock on the door through which the rioters entered had been inoperable for some time. Both prisoners and guards had informed CCA that the lock was broken, but CCA did not repair it.

Lopez' claims included civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and due process violations under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He asserted those violations because CCA had failed to repair the lock, failed to adequately train guards, and failed to control prisoner movement, all of which resulted in his sustaining head and neck injuries that require ongoing treatment, and emotional distress resulting from being beaten by the rioters.

During an arbitration hearing in February 2001, Lopez agreed to settle the suit for $41,885. See: Lopez v. Corrections Corporation of America, et al , USDC NM, Case No. 00cv00366.

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Related legal case

Lopez v. Corrections Corporation of America