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U.S. District Court Judge Awards Prisoner $1 in FCI Phoenix Retaliation Suit

Federal District Court Judge Earl H. Carroll found that prisoner Nancy Ann Blum was retaliated against by Federal Correctional Institution Phoenix Warden C. E. Floyd and awarded her $1.00.

Blum, a prisoner at the women's FCI Phoenix Satellite Prison Camp, alleged that she was retaliated against for using the Federal Bureau of Prison's administrative grievance system, and for filing lawsuits in federal court regarding mistreatment at the hands of prison officials. She alleged that while working as an orderly at the FCI Phoenix Administration Building, she was denied access to the air conditioned break room in which her co-workers were allowed to sit. Instead, Blum stated, she was forced to sit in a chair in a hot foyer, exposed to direct sunlight and temperatures reaching 109 degrees, with no access to drinking water or a bathroom.

Blum alleged a litany of injuries resulting from the illegal actions of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' staff, including solar burns to her eyes, sun sensitivity, melanoma, hypertension, and palpitations and inflammation of the walls surrounding her heart.

Judge Carroll found that a) FCI Phoenix Warden C. E. Floyd was responsible for Blum having to sit in the hot foyer on more than one occasion; b) requiring Blum to sit in the hot foyer was an act of retaliation by the Warden; and c) requiring Blum to sit in the hot foyer did not advance a legitimate penological interest.

But despite Blum's allegations of injuries resulting from the mistreatment at the hands of FCI Phoenix prison officials, Judge Carroll did not find any physical, mental, or emotional injury with respect to the Warden's unlawful retaliation.

Judge Carroll found that $1.00 was the appropriate reparation for Warden Floyd's violation of Blum's First Amendment rights. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The documents from this case were obtained by Prison Legal News after a 12-year long battle with the Federal Bureau of Prisons over a Freedom of Information Act request.

Source: Blum v. Floyd, No. CIV-96-1470-PHX-EHC (D. Ariz filed Aug. 19, 1996) and Blum v. Floyd, No. 03-17259 (9th Cir. 2004).

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Blum v. Floyd