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Pennsylvania Prisoner Wins $10,000 On Excessive Force Claim

A Pennsylvania state prisoner who was injured when a guard slammed the cell slot door on his arm after the prisoner didn?t retract his arm soon enough was awarded $10,000 in punitive damages by a federal jury on January 28, 2006.

Greene Correctional Institution prisoner Demetrious Bailey sued Pennsylvania DOC guards for three counts of excessive force. In the first claim, Bailey had his arm sticking out of the food slot in his cell door when a guard slammed the door closed on the arm, abrading it.
Since only one slot can be opened at a time, the guard wanted to close Bailey?s so he could proceed on. Two other prisoners corroborated the story, and Bailey had pictures of the injuries to his arm. Suing in U.S. District Court (W.D. Pa.), and represented by Pittsburgh attorneys Joseph Culleiton, Joe Nguyen and Marie Johnson of Reed Smith LLP, Bailey was awarded $10,000 in punitive damages against guard Albright, but no compensatory damages.

Bailey?s second claim was that he was roughed up when a guard took him back from the yard, violently pushing him into his cell and kicking him. The third incident was en route to the law library where guards were suspicious of a bulge in his socks, and forcefully strip-searched him to find some coffee and a lighter. Although Bailey claimed the excessive force was retaliation for his litigation activities against staff, the jury found for the defendant guards in the latter two claims. See: Bailey v. Blaine, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Pa.), Case No. 01-793.

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Related legal case

Bailey v. Blaine