On June 18, 1991, an inmate at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility (RICF) in New York filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Warden of RICF in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff, who was later represented by the Legal Aid Society Prisoners' Rights Project of New York, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated when correctional officers beat him unconscious while he was in the facility's Central Punitive Segregation Unit (CPSU).
On February 18, 1993, the plaintiff's complaint was amended, naming additional corrections officers as defendants and additional inmates as plaintiffs. A plaintiff class was then certified in the case, and the class alleged a pattern of brutality and the use of gratuitous and excessive physical violence by corrections officers and supervisory personnel. The class was certified in May 1993.
In March 1996, the City of New York moved the CPSU to a newer facility, called the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, where they installed video cameras and made other renovations. The City also declined to represent or indemnify many of the named individual correction officers and supervisory personnel that were defendants in the lawsuit. In April 1996, the City of New York and each of the named plaintiffs agreed to monetary amounts in full settlement of all claims for damages, and plaintiffs' counsel waived any claims for attorneys fees and costs. There then followed factual discovery relating to the nature of injunctive relief to be sought from the Court on behalf of members of the class.
On May 26, 1998, the parties entered into a 48-page Stipulation of Settlement (the "Stipulation") and on June 9, 1998, this Court ordered that the notice to the class of the proposed settlement be provided in English and Spanish to the plaintiff class. The Court approved the settlement on July 10, 1998. Two groups of correctional officers sought to intervene, to object to the settlement, but the Court rejected that effort on July 16, 1998. 1998 WL 397846.
The agreement dealt with use of force, staff training procedures, mental health services, inmate management, creation of an operating manual for the CPSU, use of chemical agents, staff placement, record keeping, investigation procedures, disciplinary procedures, and video coverage of inmate areas.
The parties continued to file status reports with the court until July 2002, when the parties stipulated to the court that all issues had been resolved. On July 18, 2002, the district court (Judge Patterson) thanked all parties for their cooperation and issued a final dismissal of the case. 210 F.Supp.2d 450Kristen Sagar - 10/31/2006