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April 30, 2009 Press Releases

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – San Diego-based Casey Gerry today announced that after a three-week trial, a Federal Court jury has found two prison guards who victimized an inmate negligent — ordering them to pay $1 million to Gretchan Young, a San Diego County resident whose 40-year-old son died after being choked to death.

According to trial counsel Thomas D. Luneau of Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP, the jury ruled in favor of his client, Gretchan Young, in the case against two prison guards employed at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. The case was tried in the United States District Court, Southern District of California.

According to Luneau, who represented the plaintiff along with Robert Hamparyan and John Gomez of The Gomez Firm, the victim, Johnny Young, died December 30, 2004 after being physically abused and choked by the prison guards. A schizophrenic, Young suffered a psychotic episode while walking in the prison yard to breakfast and was forcibly detained and choked by the guards, Luneau said.  He died immediately following the incident as a result of a carotid chokehold.

“The jury found that the defendants were negligent,” Luneau said. And that “they violated the inmate’s Eighth Amendment Right against cruel and unusual punishment.”

In light of the jury’s decision, “my client and I hope that this facility, and others across the country, will educate and train their employees about the lethal implications of carotid chokeholds,” Luneau added.