Research

New York State Department of Law Attica Class Action Litigation Files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists of records resulting from a 1974 class action suit filed against state officials or their estate by inmate survivors of the 1971 Attica uprising. The records were created by private counsel hired by the state to defend state officials. Types of records include trial transcripts; complaints; reports of other investigations; interviews; testimonies; depositions; summaries; pleadings; briefs; photographs; and attorney work notes. Records are partially restricted.
Creator:
Title:
New York State Department of Law Attica class action litigation files next hit
Quantity:
53.5 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
approximately 1971-2001
Series Number:
B1811

Arrangement

B1811-02: Arranged by type of document.

B1811-13: Organized into eight subseries: 1. Attorney Work Product and Research; 2. Trooper Statements; 3. Court Proceedings; 4. Files on Individuals; 5. Personal Interviews; 6. Interrogatories; 7. Correspondence; 8. Numerically Arranged Files.

Administrative History

In 1974 a class action lawsuit was filed by inmate survivors of the Attica uprising against state officials or their estates. The suit alleged that the plaintiffs were severely abused and mistreated by state authorities after control of the facility was retaken from the rioters in September, 1971. After several lengthy complex proceedings, including several trials and appeals, the suit was assigned to the U.S. District Court Western District of New York in August 1999.

Following intensive negotiations, the parties presented a proposed settlement agreement in January 2000 which provided for the State of New York (without admitting liability) to pay $8 million into a fund to be apportioned by the Court among qualified plaintiff class members. The settlement agreement also provided that a separate fund be established in the amount of $4 million by the State for disbursement to plaintiffs' class attorneys for legal services rendered. Notable defendants in the case included the estate of Nelson A. Rockefeller, governor of the State of New York at the time of the uprising; Norman Hurd, Director of State Operations; Russell G. Oswald, Commissioner of the Dept of Correctional Services; Vincent Mancusi Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility; Leon Vincent, Deputy Superintendent; and Karl Pfeil, Assistant Deputy Superintendent.

Scope and Content Note

B1811-02: Types of records include trial transcripts; complaints; reports of other investigations; testimonies; deposition transcripts; and summaries, pleadings, briefs, etc. of related suits.

B1811-10: Consists of documents that were removed from B1811-02 because they are legally restricted.

B1811-13: These records were created by the law office of Joshua J. Effron, who represented Major John Monahan, commander of the New York State Police in Batavia and a named defendant during several lawsuits against New York State following the retaking of Attica after prison riots in 1971. Monahan and other defendants retained private counsel at state expense due to a possible conflict of interest by the New York State Department of Law regarding the charges (NYS Public Officers Law, section 18).

Court proceedings and research materials related to Akil al-Jundi et al. v. Nelson Rockefeller et al. and Akil al-Jundi et al. v. Mancusi et al. form the bulk of the records. Documents include attorney work notes, correspondence, filed court documents, trooper statements, interviews, interrogatories, and photographs. A large portion of these documents are photocopies of original documents held elsewhere.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Medical files are restricted to protect personal privacy.

B1811-10: Restricted; contains confidential interview notes and grand jury minutes.

B1811-13: Portions of these records are exempt from disclosure under the New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL, Public Officers Law Art. 6).

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B2502 Ballistics Reports Prepared After the Retaking of the Attica Correctional Facility, may contain related records. Accretion 19352-14, Landmark case files, consists of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's request to make public the bulk of the "Meyer Report" on the Attica prison riots.

Other finding aids

B1811-02: Folder list is available at the repository.

B1811-13: Preliminary folder list is available at the repository.

Custodial History

B1811-02: Records in this accession were created or collected by the law firm of Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, attorneys for the defendants and transferred to the State Archives in March 2002.

B1811-13: The records in this accretion were created by the law office of Joshua J. Effron, attorney for John Monahan, and were transferred to the State Archives in February 2012.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s):
Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Genre(s):
Function(s):