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Los Angeles County Agrees to Pay $7,000,000 to Beaten Juvenile Prisoner

On March 27, 2009, Los Angeles County agreed to pay $7,000,000 to a youth that was severely beaten at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall (Nidorf) in Sylmar, California after the youth was pressured, but refused, to join a gang.

Raymond Amande, Jr. was attacked in a recreation room by four gang members after watching a movie. The room was filled with 35 youths and being supervised by only one staff member, three less than what was required.

Amande’s neck was broken during the attack after Amande was slammed to the concrete floor. The staff member in the room at the time tried to intervene, but was unable to do so. There were cameras in the room, but they were not working. Amande was left a quadriplegic as a result of the attack.

Amande’s assault follows on the heels of a Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry that found widespread violence, understaffing, and overcrowding at Nidorf. Amande relied on the DOJ’s findings in his complaint.

Amande’s attorney, Michael Louis Kelly, of Los Angeles based Kirtland & Packard, said Amande was “very happy” with the settlement. “It’s going to allow him to move on with his life.” Amande, now 20, plans to attend college.

The settlement requires the county to pay Amande $3,800,000 upfront, with the remainder being disbursed through periodic payments. The settlement is inclusive of attorney’s fees.
The county is in the process of improving conditions at its 22 juvenile facilities as a result of the DOJ’s investigation and Amande’s suit. Improvements include repair of all surveillance cameras. No staff were disciplined in connection with Amande’s attack. See: Amande v. The County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BCV 373715.

Additional source: Los Amgeles Times

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Related legal case

Amande v. The County of Los Angeles