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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jury Awards $990,000 to 12 Florida Prison Nurses in Harassment Lawsuit

The Associated Press
January 27, 2007

PANAMA CITY, Florida - A jury has awarded nearly $1 million ($990,000) to 12 female nurses, concluding that Florida corrections officials condoned sexual harassment by male inmates, an attorney said.

The nurses claimed they had been harassed on their daily rounds since 1997, including while examining inmates and delivering medicine.

"It is a magnificent verdict that finally provides justice for these women, who have complained hard and loud for years with no one in the prison system listening or providing relief whatsoever," said Wes Pittman, an attorney for one of the nurses.

The nurses will share the award of $990,000, which a jury granted them Friday.

A message left on the cell phone of a Florida Department of Corrections spokesman was not immediately returned Saturday.

The nurses said the harassment happened at Washington Correctional Institution in Chipley, about 47 miles (75 kilometers) north of Panama City.

The women were among 28 nurses from four prisons who sued department for violations of human and civil rights. Three separate lawsuits against the Martin Correctional Institution, Glades Correctional Institution and Lake Correctional Institution are still pending, Pittman said.


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