case, she called up fellow Philadelphia-area criminal lawyer Lynanne Wescott,
who agreed to be co-counsel. After
her accusations, prison officials had
transferred Yates to the women’s prison
in Alderson, W.Va. (where she shared
a cottage with a supportive Martha
Stewart). So the lawyers got in a car and
drove down to meet their new client.
Yates, however, was not impressed. Not
“I was worried. So worried,” she recalls.
“I did a lot of ranting and raving at my
“They were such sweet little ladies. I was
like, these women won’t be able to get this
done. Then in the courtroom, it’s crazy; it’s
like they’re a force to be reckoned with. I
looked at the other girls and said, ‘Oh my
God!’ I knew then I had the right women.”
The story Durbin and Wescott gathered
turned out to be more horrifying than
anyone had thought. After Yates’ allegations
surfaced, three other women stepped
forward and accused the same guard.
Another inmate’s family revealed that it
had sent a formal letter of complaint to the
Federal Bureau of Prisons, only to have the
letter vanish into bureaucracy.
friends,” Durbin says of her reaction.
Durbin and Wescott warned Yates and
the other women that they would have to
relive their experiences again and again in
court, and that officials would assume they
were making up stories.
“There was a particular part that was
very difficult for me, and I broke down
crying,” Yates recalls. “And I looked up, and
Anna was crying with me.”
“Anna is the soul of humanity,” Wescott
says. “That’s what differentiates her from
a lot of lawyers in this business. She cares,
and her clients know that.”
In June 2005, the guard pleaded guilty
to sexual misconduct with a ward and
was sentenced to four months. The light
punishment galled Yates. “I wanted him
to go to hell,” she says. “I wanted him to
get locked away in prison, but Lyn and
Anna told me realistically it wasn’t going to
happen. They said no matter if he gets four
months or 400 years, it won’t change what
he did to you.”
Durbin and Wescott pressed forward
with a civil suit while tending to the
emotional and practical needs of their
clients, who were still in prison. “It’s like
they became my therapists, my best
friends, my attorneys—everything wrapped
in one,” Yates says.
MCCANN SCHAIBLE & WALL, LLC
Representing Plaintiffs in significant personal injury matters
and other civil litigation throughout the tri-state area.
Learn more about us at www.mswattorneys.com
*Chosen to Super Lawyers® 2007-2012 **Chosen to Super Lawyers 2004-2012
†Chosen to Super Lawyers 2007-2012, Top 100 List in Philly 2009, 2011 & 2012, Top 100 List in PA 2009 & 2012
Two Penn Center | 11th Floor | Philadelphia, PA 19102 | 215-569-8488
300 Delaware Avenue | Suite 805 | Wilmington, DE 19801