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Suit Over Guards Beating Transgender New York Prisoner Settles for $80,000

On February 23, 2015, a lawsuit alleging two New York prison guards beat a transgender state prisoner while voicing anti-transgender slurs was settled for $80,000, which included $50,000 in attorney fees.

Bryan Woodall was a pre-operative transgender New York state prisoner incarcerated at the Attica Correctional Facility when prison guards Gary Pritchard and Sean White escorted her from the prison's medical department to her cell. Shortly after they left the medical department, Pritchard and White allegedly attacked Woodall without provocation, punching, kicking and denigrating her. After her release from prison, she completed gender reassignment surgery. She also filed a lawsuit against Pritchard, White and six other guards who allegedly witnessed the beating but failed to intervene.

Woodall, who is now known as Misty LaCroix, had been sentenced to four-to-twelve years in prison for fatally shooting Kristine Woodall in 1999 after asking Kristine to perform a castration. They were married and Woodall wanted to change genders.

Representing Woodall, New York attorney Anthony Cecutti dropped the six guards who did not actually beat Woodall from the suit a month before the trial began. After witnesses at trial demolished the defense's theory that Woodall's injuries were self-inflicted, the defendants offered to settle the suit for $80,000.

"We knew that jurors would not easily accept what she had to say," said Cecutti, explaining why they decided to take the settlement offer. "She's a transgendered inmate. She's a convicted felon. She's at Attica. We knew it was an uphill battle." See: Woodall v. Pritchard, U.S.D.C. (W.D. NY), Case No. 08-cv-06228-CJS-JWF.

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Related legal case

Woodall v. Pritchard