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$1,500 Settlement After New York Prisoner Claims Smoke Injuries

by Christopher Zoukis

A prisoner at Franklin Correctional Facility in Malone, New York, received a settlement of $1,500 to drop his federal lawsuit in which he alleged suffering severe respiratory attacks from unauthorized smoking within the prison.

     Kenneth Ward allegedly suffered from severe breathing problems and was repeatedly subjected to cigarette smoking despite prison policy stating that smoking was not allowed in prison housing areas. He claimed that the smoking made his breathing problems worse, causing several severe respiratory attacks that required hospitalization. Prison officials made no effort to stop the smoking.

     On January 8, 2007, Ward filed a federal civil rights complaint against corrections and facility officials and staff, saying he was denied due process, equal protection and the right to redress his grievances, and was subjected to what amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. He sought $60 million in damages, as well as injunctive relief.

     On October 27, 2011, the case was dismissed by Judge Glenn T. Suddaby after the parties agreed to a settlement providing $1,500 for Ward in exchange for dismissal of all claims.

See: Ward v. Fischer, Commissioner, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, Case No. 9:07-cv-00026-GTS-RFT (Nov. 7, 2011)

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Related legal case

Ward v. Fischer, Commissioner, et al.