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Posted on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 2:55 p.m.

Inmates unhappy with sex assault settlement have hearing in Ann Arbor courts today

By Staff

Some female inmates who won millions of dollars from jurors after saying they were sexually assaulted by male corrections staff are unhappy with a class-action settlement with the state.

The women say the $100 million settlement reached last month is unfair because they could get half of what a jury said they deserved, and some lost their jobs during the trial. One woman says the plaintiff's attorneys stand to earn more because of the settlement.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in an Ann Arbor courtroom. The lawsuit involves about 500 current or former female prisoners.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm authorized the settlement after juries in two trials returned verdicts for 18 women that, with interest, would have totaled nearly $60 million.



Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 5:12 p.m.

I'm acquainted with a couple of the "plaintiff's attorneys" (Molly Reno, Deborah LaBelle) that worked on this lawsuit--it was a huge amount of work undertaken on by principled feminists over many years, not primarily for an economic reward. Here's a statement made by Ms. LaBelle to a National Prison Rape Elimination Commission appointed by Congress to investigate sexual abuse in prisons.... These women worked very hard, without knowing that they would receive any compensation at all, to hold the Michigan Department of Corrections accountable for policies that put women at risk of sexual assault. The fact that a client chooses to attack them now says more about the client than it does about Ms. Reno and Ms. LaBelle.... I don't share Ms. Reno and Ms. LaBelle's politics, but I know good, principled legal work when I see it; and that opinion comes from a white conservative male. The idea that they would pour heart and soul into a cause, at considerable personal and financial risk to themselves, just to rip off their clients in a settlement, is frankly laughable.

Michigan Reader

Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 4:19 p.m.

The article said that the jury award, with interest, would come to about sixty million. Before that, it said that the plaintiffs settled for one hundred million.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 3:49 p.m.

Too bad so much detail is lacking... it sounds like only allegations, but are Plaintiff's attorneys going to earn more? Are they getting half what a jury said they should? Also, how is money awarded to inmates distributed? We dont' know from reading this blurb.