Posted on Mar 07, 2006
Jury awards prisoner $250,000 in abuse lawsuit
March 4, 2006
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. --An inmate who claimed he was punched by a correction officer after spending 22 hours in restraints has been awarded $250,000 by a federal jury.
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Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts Jurors found that Capt. Sebastian Mangiafico punched 38-year-old Duane Ziemba after he was forcibly removed from his cell at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers eight years ago.
Ziemba's lawyer, Jim Nugent, said the jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory and punitive damages Friday.
Two other defendants, a nurse and medic accused of failing to tend to Ziemba's medical needs, were found not liable.
Nugent said Ziemba, who is finishing a 12-year sentence for larceny at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, was ecstatic about the verdict.
"He was so thankful to us, the court and the jury for finally hearing him and treating him like a human being, something he has not been treated like since he's gone into" prison, Nugent said.
Another attorney on the case, Antonio Ponvert III, said the verdict should be a lesson for guards tempted to mistreat inmates.
"It sends a loud message that no one is immune from the law and the Constitution is fully alive within the prison facilities of this state," he said.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose office represented the nurse and medic employed by the correction department, said he was pleased they were not found liable.
State attorneys did not represent Mangiafico because they said his actions were outside "the proper scope of his employment."
A spokesman for the correction department and Mangiafico's lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Mangiafico still works in the prison system, as a captain at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.
Ziemba is expected to be released from prison this month and will likely go to a halfway house, Nugent said.