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Nicholas Feliciano settles his cases against the City of New York for $28,750,000


New York, NY

April 7, 2024


What: Nicholas Feliciano settles his cases against the City of New York for $28,750,000


Press Conference:     11:00 am, Monday, April 8, 2024, Foley Square, by the Fountain


In attendance: Madeline Feliciano, family members, the Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, other elected officials, Ms. Feliciano’s attorneys, and supporters.



David B. Rankin, 917-455-0609


Jonathan C. Moore, 917-549-0692


As reported in the New York Times and by NBC's I-Team, Ms. Feliciano is pleased to announce that she has resolved her lawsuits against the City of New York for $28,750,000. It is believed to the largest single plaintiff pre-verdict settlement by the City of New York ever and one of the largest single plaintiff civil rights settlements in US history.


On November 27, 2019, 18-year-old Nicholas Feliciano, who was previously known by DOC to be suicidal, attempted to hang himself in an intake pen at the George R. Vernon Center on Rikers Island. According to the Board of Correction’s review of this incident, he was hanging for 7 minutes and 51 seconds in plain view of Correction Officers, other people in custody, and members of FDNY emergency medical services before DOC staff pulled his arms behind his back and handcuffed him, which caused the clothing to suddenly release from his neck, and he fell to the ground. As a result of this inaction, Mr. Feliciano suffered substantial brain damage and will require a lifetime of medical treatment.


Four of the employees of the Department of Corrections were arrested and charged with felonies. They are Captain, Terry Henry and Officers Kenneth Hood, Daniel Fullerton, and Mark Wilson. So far, CO Wilson and CO Fullerton have pleaded guilty to official misconduct. They were sentenced to no prison time and no community service.


“This settlement will just help Nicholas with his medical condition and therapies for the rest of his life, the damage is already done. Nicholas will never be the same. His future got taken away.  Meanwhile, there are people still going through inhumane conditions and not getting the care that they need at Rikers Island. There needs to be better leadership so that what happened to Nicholas won't happen again.” Madeline Feliciano, Guardian and Grandmother of Nicolas Feliciano.


“This tragic case of criminal neglect by these DOC employees strongly supports the efforts of those who argue that Rikers Island should be closed now.  However, and perhaps more important than simply tearing down this horrible place, the criminal conduct of these guards, including a supervisor, illustrates the need for changing how we in this city and this country view corrections.  Jails and prisons in this country have become an instrument of punishment and retribution.  This case illustrates how far removed we as a society have drifted from the purpose of corrections, which is to isolate wrongdoers from society, not to punish them by subjecting to the horrors and cruelties like those which Nicholas Feliciano suffered.  In short, shutting Rikers is only the beginning. If we must have a “new” Rikers it should be staffed by people who value human life, who will treat all those who find themselves behind those walls, with dignity and respect.” Jonathan C. Moore, Senior Partner at Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP.


“We can't let there be more Nicholas Felicianos. The City of New York has proven for years it is incapable of managing a humane jail system. Rikers Island and the Department of Corrections are a disgrace to our City. Receivership a moral imperative, if the City cannot keep its prisoners safe, they have to be released.” David B. Rankin, Partner at Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP.


“Rikers Island guards left a teenager hanging by his neck in a jail cell. The 28.75-million-dollar settlement is some measure of accountability to Nicholas Feliciano and his family. But nothing can give Nicholas back the life he would have led. What happened to Nicholas shows us the human cost of delaying the closing of Rikers Island.” Regina Powers, Associate Attorney at Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP.


Video footage maybe obtained from the New York Time by emailing Bran Latu at


Ms. Feliciano is represented by Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP, who represented Eric Garner’s family, members of the Central Park 5, and co-counseled Floyd, the stop and frisk class action.


Case documents and photos of Mr. Feliciano can be found here:



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