In his continuing report, Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press reports that County Judge Timothy Connors has ordered mediation in the lawsuits by female inmates alleging sexual assaults by prison guards. The lawyers for the state, however, believe that any efforts to settle will be a waste of time until all appeals, which the state thinks that they can win, are exhausted.
So far, two juries have awarded almost $24,000,000 to 18 female inmates. Keith Powell, a juror in the second trial, believes that the state will not do better in future trials:
Powell, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, wrote he didn’t want the case to "drag on for years and put an even larger financial burden on the state than a settlement would cost. … I found the case quite disturbing, on several levels," Powell wrote. "What happened is a terrible blot on the reputation of the State of Michigan.
If i lived in Michigan, I would be bothered on different levels. Why did the prison system let this conduct go unchecked for so long? Two juries have obviously found the conduct so despicable that it has awarded the plaintiffs an average verdict of about 1.5 million dollars and the Judge hearing those cases urges settlement. Those are shockingly high awards for lawsuits involving inmates, typically not the most sympathetic plaintiffs. The state is dealing with it’s taxpayers’ money and it has the duty to do so responsibly. Why aren’t more people in the state in positions of political power screaming?
Cum Laude graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Pet Mackey is a civil trial litigation expert who represents plaintiffs in business and consumer tort, contracts and construction, employment disputes and insurance. He is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Certified Alabama Mediator, and an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.