$20.8 Million Settlement Reached in Significant Corrections Reform Case Concerning Sexual Assault

Stark & Stark has announced that Shareholders Stefanie Colella-Walsh and Martin Schrama, along with their co-counsel, Oliver Barry of Barry, Corrado & Grassi, have recovered $20.8 million for a group of women that were sexually abused, assaulted, and discriminated against at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (EMCFW). The civil litigations were against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC).

According to a press statement issued by the NJDOC, the $20,835,600 settlement “resolves both individual claims for those inmates who claim to have been direct victims of sexual abuse, harassment, or retaliation, along with all inmates assigned to EMCFW since January 1, 2014. This resolution encompasses two class-action complaints filed on behalf of the current and former inmate population of EMCFW, plus 20 individual complaints involving the specific claims of 22 current or former inmates.”

Additionally, the settlement covers damages, sweeping injunctive relief, including the appointment of a federal monitor and requirement of correction officer body cameras, and attorneys’ fees for the women who were directly impacted by sexual misconduct, and/or those who were incarcerated in the facility between 2014 and the date of court approval of the settlement. This compensation provides direct relief to those impacted by the criminal conduct of certain former NJDOC employees assigned to the EMCFW.

Martin Schrama and Stefanie Colella-Walsh are the practice group leaders of Stark & Stark’s Mass Tort and Class Action Group, and Oliver Barry is a member of the law firm of Barry, Corrado & Grassi. The legal team believes that the settlement was a result of determined and committed efforts in litigation and on appeal, involving novel theories of law. They also believe it is among the most significant New Jersey corrections reform in history. The economic and non-economic provisions are significant and will have immediate positive impacts on improving conditions, eliminating the abusive culture throughout the institution, and changing the lives of historically abused women within the Edna Mahan facility.

Martin Schrama is the Chair, and Stefanie Colella-Walsh a Shareholder, of the firm’s Mass Tort and Class Action Group, where they concentrate their practice on complex litigation, with a focus in mass tort and pharmaceutical litigation, class action prosecution and defense, and complex litigation involving environmental, commercial, employment, civil rights, investments/securities, and consumer fraud claims.

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