Attorney Charles Tony Piccuta Wins Jury Trial For Prisoner Beaten By Prison Guards
On May 18, 2017, attorney Charles Tony Piccuta obtained a unanimous verdict for his prisoner client in a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit. The client who was serving a life sentence, was housed in Kern Valley State Prison in June of 2010. He had a job as a prison barber. The first shift guards told him that they would no longer be releasing him on time for work and that the next shift guards could do it. These lazy guards did not want to take the additional ten minutes to let the barbers out to get their hair-cutting equipment.
The client filed a prison grievance and gave it to the guards. They told him that if he wanted to file a grievance, that they would lock down all the prisoners and tell them it was because of him. They also told him that they would have inmates “take care of him.” The next day, the client was assaulted by inmates while the guards were watching. The guards did not sound the alarm or stop the assault. During the assault client’s ankle was fractured and his ligaments were torn. After the assault, the inmates told the client that they would kill him and his family and that he must report the injury as a slip and fall. The client did.
The guards were alarmed because they did not expect the assault to result in such a bad injury. They then tried to cover it up. They refused to call the client medical despite him requesting that they do so several times. The client eventually had to hop 300 yards to the prison medical station to receive treatment.
The client received multiple surgeries to repair his broken ankle. However, he still had to report to the same guards when he returned to prison. The client was forced to ask the guards for garbage bags to cover his casted leg every time he showered. The guards laughed at him and cracked jokes about his injury.
The client filed the lawsuit himself. The client had written to over 100 attorneys, called over 40 others and contacted every prison and civil rights group he could locate. No one was willing to help him.
The client contacted the Piccuta Law Group three weeks before trial. Piccuta agreed to take on the seven year old case and prepared it for trial. Trial began on May 15, 2017.
The following claims were advanced at trial: 1) conspiracy; 2) retaliation in violation of the 1st Amendment; 3) cruel and unusual punishment/deliberate indifference to medical need in violation of the 8th Amendment; and 4) failure to protect also in violation of the 8th Amendment. The case was defended by the California Attorney General’s Office. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California and entitled Bryant v. Gallagher (Case# 1:11-CV-00446).
Trial lasted three and a half days. The jury deliberated for three and a half hours. The jury rendered a verdict finding for the firm’s client on every claim. The jury awarded the firm’s client $100,000.00 for his pain and suffering and another $30,000.00 to punish the defendants. The attorney fees paid by the defendants will be separate from this amount.
If you or someone you love has been abused by someone in a position of authority, contact our law firm today. Our attorneys are not afraid to go to trial to hold these individuals responsible. Call us today for a free consultation.