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Home > Uncategorized > Saving Tip #3: Avoid Lawsuits

Saving Tip #3: Avoid Lawsuits

September 3rd, 2010

In California, Lawrence Bittaker sued the state because his cookie was broken. As one of the 40 lawsuits the death row inmate filed, the suit cost the state $4,500 before a judge tossed it out two years later. In a similar situation, Kevin Howard sued the state because he believed his thoughts were broadcasted on prison loudspeakers. His case cost the state $18,500.

While these frivolous cases are hard to avoid without legislative oversight; however, reducing overcrowding, which spurs conflicts, prevents effective medical care and diminishes the ability to meet basics, will avoid millions of dollars in lawsuits each year. During the time of the Chino prison riot in August of 2009, the facility was nearly 50 percent over capacity. A man incarcerated in the Chino Institute of Men, Calif., wrote an anonymous letter describing his treatment after the riot. Identified as inmate 1081, he wrote, “My story is just as drastic as the others. Three nights in a cage with 10 other men. And no water, no restroom facilities. I have kidney problems. It was torture for me.”

Prison conditions is another common type of lawsuit that can be avoided with proper upkeep of facilities. California alone paid $108 million for experts and lawyers for inmates in 12 major lawsuits over a 12-year period. This amount doesn’t include the state’s own legal costs, $24 million, or the amount needed to fix problems that led the class-action suits.

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