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$98,500 Settlement In Jail Negligence Suit Prisoner Beating

Darrin Rvdberg, filed a civil law suit in 1997, against the Nassau County Correctional Center (jail), for 3 million dollars in damages for the jail's negligence in failing to protect him from being assaulted by another prisoner (Porter), while Rydberg was incarcerated at the jail for a drunk driving conviction.

On May 16, 1996, Rydberg was attacked by Porter; one day after the two had argued about what TV show to watch. The day of the assault Porter shoved Rydberg and knocked his food tray out of his hand at dinner. That incident was witnessed by jail guard Michael Bullock, but Bullock failed to take any kind of action. About 20 minutes after Porter shoved Rydberg, he followed Rydberg into the bathroom and attacked him from behind. Rydberg, was knocked unconscious, and suffered a broken jaw, a dislocated shoulder, and was hospitalized for 12 days. The attack, was witnessed by jail guards; Kevin Stanton, and Frank Bruno, but they failed to take action to protect Rydberg.

The case went to jury trial, and the defendants claimed that they were not responsible for the assault on Rydberg and that they could not have prevented the incident. The jail guards that witnessed the attack, testified that there was no way they could have prevented the attack, and that they did not have cameras peering into the bathrooms. Bullock claimed that he did not witness the food tray incident, and that he could not have, because he had left work at 3:45 p.m., and the incident happened at about 4:00 p.m., which is when dinner was served, However, Rydberg 's attorney Adam Orlow, argued that jail records showed that Bullock had counted the prisoners at 4:00 p.m., which meant that he was there. A prisoner who witnessed the incidents also testified, and corroborated Rydberg's story.

The jury, found in favor of Rydberg, and held that the jail was negligent when they failed to prevent Porter from attacking Rydberg. Before the jury could determine how much money to award Rydberg, Nassau County settled the case for $98,500. Source: Newsday (New fork, NY), March I, 2001

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