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$2,000 Settlement For Federal Prisoner's Lost Property And Legal Work

Wisconsin federal prisoner Joseph Davis brought a combined 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and federal tort action in 1997 after guards lost his property and legal documents, and assaulted him during a transfer to another prison. He claimed that he needed the legal documents for the time sensitive filing of a post conviction petition. The suit settled for $2,000.

Davis was housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois (FCI Greenville), in 1995 when Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) director Kathleen Hawk called for a nationwide federal prisons lockdown. Davis was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution at Leavenworth, Kansas, being identified as a "trouble maker and rioter." He alleged that no attempts were made to secure his belongings and that he never received his legal work or property. Davis brought the action against the BOP and FCI Greenville officials for due process and equal protection violations, claiming that he did nothing to be labeled as a trouble maker or a rioter and alleged that he was assaulted upon his arrival in Kansas. He further alleged that his ability to comply with newly implemented time constraints for filing post conviction petitions was hindered by the loss of his legal work, causing irreparable damage. He requested a declaratory and injunctive relief to preclude other prisoners from being subjected to such actions, that his legal work be returned to him in a timely fashion, and $1,541.27 in costs.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois approved the settlement for $2,000 in 1999, and also dismissed a suit he had brought in the District of Kansas for related claims. The parties agreed to pay their own costs and fees. See: Davis v. Bureau of Prisons, USDC, S.D. Ill., Case No. 97 809 DRH (May 10, 1999).

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Related legal case

Davis v. Bureau of Prisons

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