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$50,000 Settlement in D.C. Retaliation Suit

In the January 2001, issue of PLN we reported Garcia v. District of Columbia, 56 F. Supp.2d 1 (D DC 1998) in which the district court denied prison guards' motion for summary judgment. District of Columbia prisoners Freda Garcia, Lawrence Caldwell and Antonio Tirado filed suit claiming that prison guard Rosa Maria Chapa made unwanted sexual propositions to Garcia. Caldwell and Tirado helped Garcia file a grievance complaining of Chapa's conduct and prison officials promptly retaliated against the trio try giving them groundless disciplinary infractions, confiscating their authorized property, etc.

The district court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment, holding that material issues of fact (whether the plaintiffs had been retaliated against) required a trial to resolve.

Rather than take the case to trial, the defendants chose to settle the cause in August 2000, by paying the plaintiffs a total of $50,000. Garcia and Tirado each received $15,000 and Caldwell received $20,000. After the pro se plaintiffs withstood the defendants' summary judgment motion and the case was set for trial, the court appointed the Washington D.C. law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin to represent them pro bono.

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Related legal case

Garcia v. District of Columbia