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California Settles Prisoner's Retaliation and Loss of Property Suit for $500

California prison officials paid a prisoner $500 to settle his federal retaliation suit. On November 14, 2000, Henry Murray was transferred to the Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) from another California facility. On December 5, 2000, he was called to pick up his property, but was told some items were not allowed at PSVP and he'd need to donate them or send them home, at his expense.

Murray objected and asked about the property confiscation grievance procedure. Guard M. Wallace threatened Murray and Guard R. Corley took an aggressive posture nearby, compelling Murray to agree to send his property home.

When Murray's family never received his property, he grieved the property loss and conduct of Wallace and Corley. Sergeant D. Allen interviewed Murray about the property claim but refused to investigate the conduct of his subordinates.

On December 21, 2000, Appeals Coordinator K. Comaites attempted to persuade Murray to drop the matter. When he refused, Comaites falsely reported that he had investigated, when he had not.

Murray brought federal suit against six prison officials, alleging that they retaliated against him. He sought injunctive relief and compensatory damages of $500 from each Defendant.

Seven years after the suit was filed, prison officials finally agreed, on April 28, 2009, to pay Murray $500 to settle. Of course, they also refused to admit liability. See: Murray v. Terhune, USDC No. CV-F-02-5978-AWI-DLB-P (E D Cal 2009).

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Related legal case

Murray v. Terhune