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Settlement reached in record-breaking lawsuit against GEO Group

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A settlement was reached last month in a record-breaking lawsuit against the GEO Group in the beating death of Willacy County inmate Gregario de la Rosa in 2001, according to the Brownsville Herald ("Beating death lawsuit ends in settlement," 

A settlement agreement has been reached in the Willacy County civil case involving the prison firm Wackenhut Corrections Corp., known as the GEO Group, and Warden David Forrest in the beating death of Gregorio de la Rosa Jr. of Laredo.

The de la Rosa’s case involves one of the largest wrongful death judgments in the country. The judgment was in excess of $40 million.

The monetary settlement reached between the private prison group, former warden, insurers and de la Rosa’s family is being kept confidential, however.

"I am pleased to have brought justice to the de la Rosa family and am honored to have made a positive contribution to Texas law for the future protection of our people," said Laredo attorney Ron Rodriguez, who represented the de la Rosa family.

De la Rosa's death involved a brutal beating that was subsequently found to have been covered up by the GEO Group.  From the article,

The agreement follows a scathing opinion that the Thirteenth Court of Appeals issued in April. The appellate court rebuked the prison firm and warden, and affirmed the 2006 civil judgment that a Willacy County jury returned in excess of $40 million against the prison firm and Forrest for negligently causing de la Rosa Jr.’s death.

De la Rosa, according to the opinion, was beaten to death while prison officials first watched and later tried to cover up by losing and destroying evidence.

"We find that Wackenhut’s conduct was clearly reprehensible and, frankly, constituted a disgusting display of disrespect for the welfare of others and for this state’s civil justice system," the appellate court noted in its opinion. A few days before de la Rosa’s expected release from the Raymondville facility, two inmates beat the 33-year-old man to death on April 26, 2001.

The inmates used a lock tied to a sock while "Wackenhut’s officers stood by and watched and Wackenhut’s wardens smirked and laughed," the opinion observed.

It's nice to know that the family of de la Rosa has some closure in this clearly appalling case.


The witness who is quoted in the Court of Appeals opinion has filed a lawsuit stating that the different private prisons conspired to keep him from working in the prison industry because he testified.  Does anyone have any information I can use?  The companies are denying his allegations.   He is an experienced corrections officer and was refused applications when he would show up in response to a newpaper ad.   Was any reader a witness to this?  If you can help, please post.  Thank you. 

I know the gentleman you are speaking of.  I worked with him before when I was a correctional officer.  I understand you are trying to help him but I can only tell you this.  He was one of the worse correctional officers that I ever had to work around.  In his mind, he wanted to do well and he really thought he was but honestly he was very weak minded.  I'm not defending any of the companies but I must be honest about the gentleman you are representing.  If was ever a supervisor in a jail, I would not hire him at all.

I just started with this company in the south. I see the same type of things coming our way. This is the most corrupt company I have ever worked for.  The facility has only been open since November 2011 and inmates are alread talking about rioting. I am fearful for myself and co-workers. Inmates and experienced officers alike are saying it is the worse run camp they have ever seen.  What dod you do?