Cases & Deals

Prisoner obtains trial victory in Section 1983 civil rights action

Clients Becerril, David

After a three day trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Jones Day won a jury verdict on behalf of a prisoner, David Becerril, in a Section 1983 civil rights action. Our client alleged that his Eighth Amendment rights had been violated when, after seeking protection from a threatened gang attack, the warden of the prison forced him to confront his attackers. Following the warden's refusal to transfer our client to safety, he was brutally beaten and suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw. The jury unanimously found that the warden was deliberately indifferent to the substantial risk of injury to our client, and ultimately sent a message to the warden by awarding an extremely large verdict for this type of case. It is rare for a plaintiff to prevail in a Section 1983 action, and even more rare for a jury to award such substantial damages. After trial, the judge noted that the last three Section 1983 cases he handled had resulted in two defense verdicts and a plaintiff victory for $300. The victory and the high dollar award in our case demonstrate the strength of Jones Day's trial practice and its commitment to pro bono work.