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$3,500 Settlement Reached in Double Suit Claiming Due Process and Human Rights Violations

A $3,500 settlement was reached in a consolidated agreement arising from two separate suits filed by Bernard E. Berton, Jr. against the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.

The first case arose when Berton, a prisoner at Occoquan Facility in Lorton, Virginia was exiting the dining hall on September 27, 1997. Officers William Diaz and C. Armstrong handcuffed him and placed in administrative confinement, seemingly without reason. On October 3, 1997, without any written notice of hearing, he was transferred to the maximum security housing unit on confinement status and remained there approximately 257 days. After exhausting administrative remedies, Berton filed suit on October 5, 1998 in Superior Court, District of Columbia, raising violation of due process claims.

The second case arose while Berton was housed in the maximum security unit as he was escorted out to recreation. He was assaulted by prisoner Benard L. Irving, who struck him in the head with a padlock inside of a sock. After exhausting administrative remedies, Berton field his second suit on December 1, 1998, raising cruel and inhumane treatment and negligence claims.

The Superior Court consolidated the two cases and a settlement was reached on September 29, 2000, granting Berton $3,500. See: Berton v. District of Columbia, Case Nos: CA 99-000536 and 98-007583.

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