The wife and two sons of an Oregon state prisoner received a $2,500 settlement after a prison counselor left a voice mail message falsely stating that her imprisoned husband had died.
Michael Jackson, formerly incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Institution, is married to Tonya Jackson. Jackson had a strained relationship with his prison counselor, Ceil Cross. On November 17, 2005, Mr. Cross left a message on Tonya's voice mail, instructing her to call the chaplain so arrangements could be made for the disposal of Jackson's body after it was determined how he died.
The voice mail was first heard twice by Tonya's mother and grandmother, who then contacted Tonya and her sons to tell them of Jackson's death. Tonya and the children cried and wailed hysterically and were unable to sleep. The next day Tonya was able to confirm that her husband was still alive, but Cross would only allow them one minute on the phone. Jackson was later transferred to the Oregon State Correctional Institution.
Tonya and her sons filed suit in state circuit court alleging intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress. On July 26, 2006, the state settled the suit for $2,500. The plaintiffs were represented by Portland attorney Jennie L. Clark. See: Jackson v. State of Oregon, Circuit Court for the County of Multnomah, Case No. 060303243.
Additional Source: The Oregonian
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