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Pennsylvania Jail Settles Retaliation Suit for $10,000

In April, 2000, the Schuylkill County Prison in Pennsylvania, paid $10,000.00 to settle a law suit filed by pro se prisoner, Michael Andrew Spina. Spina complained that he was retaliated against by jail officials and other staff for filing a previous law suit against the prison. Spina also complained that he was being forced to live in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions at the jail which was a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

Spina's civil suit was brought against Warden David Kurtz, Deputy Warden Eugene Berdanier, work release Administrator Matthew Morgan, Prison Guards Bloshichack and McGowan, the Schuylkill County Prison Board and the Schuylkill County Commissioners.

In his suit Spina alleged that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by retaliating against him by sentencing him to 80 days of solitary confinement and the loss of all privileges for an infraction that he had already been punished for. His second claim was that he was forced to live in a cell made for one prisoner, with another prisoner, and being forced to sleep on a broken bed for months. Also the condition at the jail was terrible, with the presence of urine, feces and blood on the walls and ceilings. Finally he argued that he was denied access to the courts because the law library was inadequate.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on all the issues and tried to get qualified immunity from the charges brought by Spina. The District Court, denied defendants' motion for summary judgment on all but one issue which was the denial of access to the courts claim. The district court also denied the defendants qualified immunity defense.

The defendants chose to settle the law suit with Spina for $10,000.00 in April 2000. See: Spina v. Kurtz , USDC ED Pennsylvania, Case No.99-1611.

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Related legal case

Spina v. Kurtz