Pro Bono Client Wins $20 Thousand Dollar Jury Award, Protecting Fourth and Eighth Amendment Rights

April 21, 2010

Cleary Gottlieb prevailed in a three-day jury trial before the Honorable Barbara S. Jones in the Southern District of New York on behalf of pro bono client, C.B. C.B., a convicted felon, filed a claim pro se in 2001 after three prison guards at Green Haven Correctional Facility conducted an invasive strip-frisk that was designed to harass and intimidate C.B. and coerce him into becoming a confidential informant for the benefit of the guards.

The Office of the New York State Attorney General represented the prison guards. Cleary Gottlieb took on the case in 2009 and on April 21 a jury found the conduct of the prison guards so objectionable that, despite the fact that C.B. suffered no lasting physical injuries, they awarded C.B. $20 thousand in punitive damages in addition to an award of $3 in nominal damages.

The jury found that each of the three defendants caused C.B. to be strip frisked and did so for the purpose of harassing, punishing or intimidating him, thus violating C.B.’s Fourth Amendment Rights, and that one of the defendants intended to conduct the search in a debasing manner and not for any genuine security purpose, in violation of C.B.’s Eighth Amendment rights.