Case: Gillespie v. Brewer

2:80-00188 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia

Filed Date: April 15, 1980

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In November 1979, inmates at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia staged a mass escape, prompting a security shakedown by the West Virginia Department of Public Safety. Several months later, an inmate of the prison filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Department of Public Safety in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The inmate alleged that the defendants had violated his civil rights during the security shaked…

In November 1979, inmates at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia staged a mass escape, prompting a security shakedown by the West Virginia Department of Public Safety. Several months later, an inmate of the prison filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Department of Public Safety in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The inmate alleged that the defendants had violated his civil rights during the security shakedown by beating him and commanding an attack dog to bite him.

After the Department of Public Safety prevailed at trial in eleven similar cases, the plaintiff accepted the defendants' settlement offer of $200. The settlement agreement included a clause in which all parties agreed to bear their own costs and attorneys' fees. When the plaintiff could not pay his attorney, the attorney petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Western Virginia to award him attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Act of 1976.

On January 25, 1985, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia (Judge Charles Haden) held that the attorneys' fees clause in the settlement agreement was unenforceable and awarded the plaintiff's attorney $2760. Gillespie v. Brewer, 602 F.Supp. 218 (N.D.W.V. 1985). We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (12/13/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Haden, Charles Harold II (West Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cogan, Timothy (West Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Davis, Dana (West Virginia)

Judge(s)

Haden, Charles Harold II (West Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cogan, Timothy (West Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Davis, Dana (West Virginia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:80-00188

Memorandum Opinion and Order

602 F.Supp. 218

Jan. 25, 1985

Jan. 25, 1985

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 24, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: West Virginia

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 15, 1980

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Inmate at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

West Virginia Department of Public Safety (Moundsville), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1980 - 0

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Excessive force

Improper use of canines

Personal injury

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run