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BOP Settles Prisoner Retaliation Claim for $7,350

by Christopher Zoukis

The Bureau of Prisons settled a claim of retaliation brought by prisoner Kevin L. Shehee for $7,350.00 in December 2000.

Shehee was serving a 262-month sentence at Federal Correctional Institution Manchester, Kentucky when he filed his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim in federal court. He sued FCI Manchester Warden Mark H. Luttrell, Associate Warden Jothan C. Miner, Inmate Services Supervisor Michael Robertson, Commissary Supervisor Greg Fleming, Warehouse Foreman Kenny Morgan, Regional Director Margaret C. Hambrick and National Administrator of Inmate Appeals Ed Crosley.

Shehee alleged that in June 1995, while working in the institutional commissary, he and two other inmates were accused of making intoxicants and sent to the Special Housing Unit (SHU). According to Shehee, the "intoxicants" in question were rotten and discarded pieces of fruit from the commissary, which were kept in a bag, in a designated cooler, as per regulation.

After several days in the SHU, FCI Manchester Special Investigative Staff determined that the "indicated intoxicants were probably a manifestation of [an] accumulation of damaged fruit" that was not consumable. Shehee was release from the SHU, and went back to working in the commissary.

Shehee immediately filed a grievance over the matter. Staff acknowledged that the fruit was where it was supposed to be.

Several days later, Shehee was fired from his job at the commissary. According to his complaint, FCI Manchester Inmate Services Supervisor Michael Robertson told Shehee, "Inmates that file against his staff cannot work for him."

Shehee sued, complaining of violation of his civil rights, violation of his right to equal protection, violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and retaliation.

The parties entered into a settlement agreement in December 2000. FCI Manchester prison guard Robertson personally agreed to pay Shehee $7,350.00. In exchange, Shehee dropped his suit against all other defendants and released the United States from liability. As is typical in such settlement agreements, none of the defendants admitted any liability or wrongdoing.

The documents from this case were obtained by Prison Legal News after a successful twelve-year-long battle with the Bureau of Prisons over a Freedom of Information Act records request. See:  Shehee v. Robertson, Civil Case No. 96-173 (USDC E.D. KY 2000).

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Related legal case

Shehee v. Robertson