legal services in new jersey

Civil Justice After Disabled Inmate Harassed by Corrections Officers

Craig J. Hubert, Esq

Szaferman Lakind Quarterly Newsletter – Winter 2014 Edition

Firm Partner Craig Hubert recently settled a case, pending court approval, on behalf of his client for $200,000 against the New Jersey Department of Corrections and individually named corrections’ lieutenants, sergeants and senior corrections officers for an alleged mock electrocution of a mentally challenged inmate. Evidence uncovered during litigation supported the claim that in November 2009 corrections officers seeking information about the reporting of a fellow officer targeted the client due to his disabilities in order to gain information. To this end, the client was restrained and escorted to the inmate intake area where he observed another inmate screaming and shaking violently in what he believed to be an electric chair. The client saw a white and green substance leaking from this inmate’s mouth. That inmate explained, during a deposition, that officers threatened meddling with his upcoming parole if he did not assist them in the ruse. He stated that he was given pea soup to expel from his mouth when the client, accompanied by corrections officers, approached the room. The client was then placed in the same chair in handcuffs which caused a metal-detecting alarm that was a component of the chair to sound on multiple occasions. As a consequence, the client was suffering severe emotional distress while the officers interrogated him. Video footage showed a collection of other officers outside the intake area who watched the spectacle but never intervened. As a result of this incident, the client continues to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as diagnosed by a psychiatrist retained by this firm.

In plaintiff’s complaint, Craig Hubert advanced claims based on various violations of Federal and State-protected civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and N.J.S.A. 10:6-1 to 2, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-2, as well as common law claims of assault, battery and negligence. Honorable Lois Goodman, United States Magistrate Judge in the Federal District Court in Trenton, assisted the parties in achieving settlement.

The firm is currently setting up the appropriate trust and investment vehicle to ensure the safety and growth of the client’s proceeds.