prison.jpgA federal jury has awarded more than half a million dollars to a nurse at the Alameda County Jail in Dublin who alleged that she was retaliated against after she and other nurses spoke out about the mistreatment they said they received from a manager.

At the end of a three-week trial, a jury in U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled on Thursday that former Alameda County Sheriff’s Capt. James Ayala is liable for retaliation against Freddie Davis and awarded her $528,957, according to Davis’ attorney, Pamela Price.

Price said Davis, who is president of the Hayward branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, worked more than 15 years as a nurse for Prison Health Services at the Santa Rita Jail and received consistently positive performance reviews.

But Price said that in 2006 a group of nurses spoke out about the mistreatment they were receiving from a manager for Prison Health Services, which provides health care services for the county at the jail.

According to Price, Ayala threatened to revoke the nurses’ security clearances in retaliation for their protest, which meant that they would lose their jobs.

She said Davis spoke out on behalf of the nurses, stating that Ayala could not threaten them, and that proper procedures must be followed.

In retaliation, Davis was harassed and forced out of her job, according to Price.

Prison Health Services, which is based in Brentwood, Tenn., and merged with Corizon earlier this year, settled with Davis for an undisclosed sum before the trial and the judge in the case dismissed Alameda County from the case, according to Price.

Sheriff’s Lt. Darryl Griffith was also a defendant in the case but the jury found in his favor, Price said.

Davis stopped working for Prison Health Services after the settlement was reached, Price said.

Officials at Corizon couldn’t be reached for comment.

Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said he couldn’t comment on the case today because he didn’t have information on the jury’s verdict.

In her lawsuit, Davis said she began working for Prison Health Services at the county jail in 1990 and “had a close relationship to former Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer.”

But Davis, who is black, said her troubles began in 2006 when she complained that Prison Health Service’s director of nursing “demonstrated a pattern of racist and sexist behavior towards her at work.”

The lawsuit says in March 2006 Davis joined 34 other nurses and employees in signing a petition protesting what they said was “intimidating conduct” by a supervisor for Prison Health Services.

The suit alleges that Ayala later retaliated by threatening to revoke the nurses’ security clearances at the jail.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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