Date Published: 07/06/2020 [Source]
A federal lawsuit alleging the state knew about radon dangers at a Connecticut prison, but failed to act for decades, can proceed to trial, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled.
The ruling came in Thursday afternoon. The litigation lists lead plaintiff Harry Vega and 13 other current or former prisoners of the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. Defendants include the Connecticut Department of Correction, along with numerous officials from that department.
"This is an important ruling for inmates everywhere," said plaintiff counsel Martin Minnella of Minnella, Tramuta & Edwards. "We have heard from hundreds of people, that are either incarcerated or were incarcerated, about the radon dangers at the prison. I look at Garner as a death box. We can't ignore this."
What the state ignored, Minnella and the lawsuit claim, were repeated signs over the years that the facility was overrun with radon, which is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause lung cancer or other ailments. Here is a look at the attorneys in the case.
Martin Minnella, plaintiffs counsel:
Minnella has been an attorney for more than three decades, according to the biography on his firm's page.
He received his law degree from the New England School of Law in Boston. He was recognized with the American Juris Prudence Award from Lawyer's Cooperative Publishing for excellence in the study of criminal law, civil procedure and constitutional law, according to his biography. His specialties are criminal law and prisoner rights.
Minnella is also a founding member of the Connecticut Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and a member of both the Connecticut Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.
Stephen Finucane, defense counsel:
Finucane is an assistant attorney general in the public safety department of the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law. The Office of the Attorney General wouldn't provide further details on Finucane's background.