Florida prisoners could form class action to demand refund on confiscated media players and files

The Florida Department of Corrections is facing a potential class action over recently forcing inmates to forfeit millions of dollars worth of mp3 and other multimedia files purchased under a since-axed media player contract.

William Demler, a 74-year-old incarcerated man at South Florida Reception Center is the lead plaintiff in the case, which was filed in the northern U.S. District Court on Tuesday with the backing of the nonprofit legal firm, the Florida Justice Institute.

In 2012, Demler first bought an MP3 player while incarcerated at Hamilton Correctional Institution in Jasper. Over the next few years, he purchased about 335 songs, spending nearly $700 all told on the player and accessories. He is seeking to form a class with similarly situated inmates.

Demler’s grievance about losing his music was first reported by the Times-Union in August after inmates sent scores of letters with similar complaints to the newsroom.

Over the course of the Access contract, which dates back to 2014, more than 30,299 media players were sold and 6.7 million songs downloaded — about $11.3 million worth of music.

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