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Jury Awards Oregon Prisoner $350,000 After Guard Announces He Was a “PC” Case

by Dale Chappell

In April 2019, a jury awarded a prisoner held at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution $350,000 in damages when he was attacked by other prisoners after a guard announced that he was a “PC” (protective custody) case.

Oregon state prisoner Skyler Floro, a former gang member, claimed in his lawsuit that in January 2017 he refused to “cell-in” because he feared for his safety, due to his decision to “leave the gang life behind in efforts to build a successful future.” He sought protective custody.

As a result, Floro was taken to disciplinary segregation for refusing to be housed in the general population. The guard escorting him to the segregation cell, Amanda Litzsinger, yelled out, “He’s here because he’s a PC case!” according to Floro’s complaint.

When he was released from segregation months later, he said gang members slashed his face with a razor because they had heard he was in PC.

Floro then filed an administrative grievance, but said he was called into a room with four lieutenants, where one threatened him that if he “really wants to go through with the grievance [against Litzsinger] I’ll just throw your little ass in the hole!”

Floro followed through with his grievance despite the retaliation threat, and filed a lawsuit against Litzsinger and Jason Duchek, the lieutenant who threatened him. He claimed their actions violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment and First Amendment, and asked for compensatory and punitive damages.

On April 30, 2019, a federal jury awarded Floro $150,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages from Litzsinger, for a total of $350,000 – plus interest and attorneys’ fees. The jury did not find Duchek liable.

Floro was represented by the Law Office of Daniel Snyder. The defendants have since appealed, after the district court denied their motion for a new trial or remittiter. See: Floro v. Litzsinger, U.S.D.C. (D. Ore.), Case No. 2:17-cv-00993-AC.

According to The Oregonian, a Portland-area newspaper, Litzsinger is still employed as a prison guard. 


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Related legal case

Floro v. Litzsinger