Stark & Stark Shareholders Team Up with NJ Firm to Reach $20.8 Million Settlement 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 Stark & Stark’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.

About Stark & Stark:
Since 1933, Stark & Stark has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. More than 100 attorneys, 30 practice areas, and a philosophy of putting the law to work for our clients is the basis from which we build and maintain our practice. Boasting one of the oldest law practices in New Jersey, Stark & Stark offers a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. After more than 85 years, our attorneys continue to deliver practical, efficient solutions to clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and throughout the United States. Our attorneys are supported by a staff in excess of 200, all of whom are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to each client. Visit www.stark-stark.com for more information.

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