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New York City Jail Settles Excessive Force Suit for $62,001

On August 11, 2009, the City of New York agreed to settle a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit brought by a former prisoner who alleged that he was beaten without provocation by guards at the George Motchan Detention Center.

In November 2006, while on his way to court, Severiano Martinez was reportedly attacked by guards from the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). The attack left him with a “right Zygomatic arch fracture, and facial, rib, thumb, neck, and eyelid bruising, swelling, and pain,” according to his federal lawsuit. The DOC guards involved allegedly attempted to cover up what happened by placing Martinez in restraints and filing false rules infractions against him.

The lawsuit raised a grab bag of state and federal causes of action ranging from violations of the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution to state law negligence, assault and battery claims. While the suit was pending the city made an offer of judgment pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under the offer, the city agreed to pay $35,001 to Martinez plus $27,000 to his attorneys.

Martinez accepted the Rule 68 offer. He was represented by attorney Brett H. Klein of Leventhal & Klein LLP, a Brooklyn law firm. See: Martinez v. City of New York, U.S.D.C. (E.D. NY), Case No. 1:07-cv-05440-RRM-RLM.

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