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Attorney who won major settlement against GEO named Public Interest Lawyer of Year

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Ronald Rodriguez, the attorney who won a more than $40 million lawsuit for the familiy of Gregario de la Rosa against the GEO Group, was recently awarded Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation.

According to a recent cover story in the alternative-monthly Laredos,

Attorney Ron Rodriguez – just back from ceremonies in Vancouver, B.C. at which he was named 2010 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation (PJF) – said he is all at once proud and humbled by the recognition for the law-making case he built and won against private prison operator Wackenhut Corrections (now the GEO Group) on behalf of the family of murdered inmate Gregorio de la Rosa. In 2006 a Willacy County jury verdict awarded $47.5 million in punitive and compensatory damages for malicious and wrongful death against Wackenhut and one of its wardens.

De la Rosa was brutally murdered in a Wackenhut (now known as GEO Group) prison in 2000 while the company's wardens allegedly laughed and smirked.  The company was also accused of tampering with evidence, including destroying key video of the murder.   An appeals court found that "Wackenhut’s conduct in maliciously causing Gregorio’s death and thereafter spoliating critical evidence so offends this Court’s sense of justice that a high ratio is warranted."  Rodriguez also represents the families of Scot Noble Payne and Randall McCullough, two Idaho prisoners who committed suicide in separate GEO prisons in Texas.

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