Settlement of $950K for California Prisoner Subjected to Severe Pepper Spraying, Naked Restraint

In April 2017, the California Department of Corrections agreed to stop an ongoing trial and provide $950,000 in settlement to an ex-prisoner who in 2012 was pepper sprayed during a cell extraction and then strapped naked to a gurney for 72 hours.

Jermaine Padilla was incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison's Mental Health Crisis Bed unit with a history of mental health issues when he refused to take his psychiatric medication. Immediately after a prison psychiatrist gave an order for involuntary medication, corrections staff reportedly emptied a 46-ounce pepper gas canister on Padilla, who was naked at the time. The officers subsequently exposed him to three more cans of pepper spray.

NPAP member attorney Lori Rifkin represented Padilla with co-counsel Dan Stormer and Caitlan McLoon, also of NPAP member firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP.

“It’s unfortunate, but it took three years of litigation and a jury trial to have the Department of Corrections do the right thing by a human being that is subjected to this kind of harm,” Rifkin told the Sacramento Bee. “But I also think this jury trial was an opportunity for regular people, for citizens, to see what actually goes on inside the prisons and the absolute inhumanity of how real people are treated inside the prisons – real people that come back into our communities.”