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$30,000 Settlement for New York Prisoner Assaulted by Guard

A New York state prisoner received almost $30,000 to settle a civil rights action alleging he was assaulted by a guard at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

Prisoner Mayer Sadian, an orthodox Jew, approached a guard on May 14, 2011 in the mess hall during the lunch hour. The guard told him he could cut the line in order to get his kosher meal.

Guard Timothy O’Brian, however, informed Sadian he could not cut in line and ordered him to the end of the line. After eating his meal, Sadian approached a sergeant to explain what happened to ensure he would not be written up for an infraction.

As he was doing so, another guard, Digironamo, came and spoke privately with the sergeant, who subsequently told Digironamo he would explain to him how the situation would be dealt with. Digironamo called Sadain out of the mess hall and closed the door.

He then smacked Sadian “with great force in the left side of [his] head,” and said “that’s for talking to the sergeant behind our back.” He told Sadian to leave. The assault caused Sadian’s yarmulke to fall off his head. Digironamo called him back to get it, kicked it, and said “take this shit with you too.”

The blow to Sadian’s head caused significant hearing loss that required medical care and forced him to wear a hearing aid. Sadian reported the incident, but no action was taken against Digironamo.

Represented by New York City attorney Jeffrey A. Rothman, Sadian filed suit alleging First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations, as well as a First Amendment retaliation claim for exercising free speech and religion.

The settlement, in early 2015, provided for a $9,950 payment to Sadian plus $20,000 in attorney fees. See: Sadian v. Digironamo, U.S.D.C. (S.D. NY), Case No. 1:14-cv-03441-RJS. 

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Related legal case

Sadian v. Digironamo