Case: Haverty v. Commissioner of Correction

95-cv-03634 | Massachusetts state trial court

Filed Date: June 30, 1995

Closed Date: May 28, 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 30, 1995, prisoners at MCI-Cedar Junction (MCI) filed this § 1983 suit in Suffolk Superior Court against the Massachusetts Department of Correction, alleging violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of confinement in the East Wing units violated their due process rights, and that defendant's policy for identifying, classifying, and punishing prison gangs violated their equal protection rights. The plaintiffs sought declaratory…

On June 30, 1995, prisoners at MCI-Cedar Junction (MCI) filed this § 1983 suit in Suffolk Superior Court against the Massachusetts Department of Correction, alleging violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of confinement in the East Wing units violated their due process rights, and that defendant's policy for identifying, classifying, and punishing prison gangs violated their equal protection rights. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They also moved for a preliminary injunction on the same day the complaint was filed.

The incidents underlying the case began on April 3, 1995, when about a dozen prisoners attacked a correctional officer in MCI's East Wing. In response, the defendants instituted a lockdown that continued through August. The plaintiffs' challenge was to policies implemented during this lockdown.

On July 14, 1995, the trial court (Judge Paul A. Chernoff) ordered the defendants to meet minimum requirements regarding inmates' out-of-cell time; access to showers, cleaning equipment, and cleansers; and access to the law library and paralegals. 1995 WL 17814072.

The plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 13, 1995, and the trial court certified two classes on November 15, 1995. The due process claim class was defined as "all prisoners who are now confined or may at some point be confined at/in any housing unit other than the Department Disciplinary Unit" at MCI. Regarding the equal protection claims, the class was defined as "Hispanic inmates who have been or will in the future be assigned to the Plymouth housing units" at MCI. 2003 WL 25530367 at n.3.

Later that year, on June 10, 1996, the plaintiffs filed to consolidate the case with another (No. 93-6300D), which the trial court denied a few days later. The trial docket provides no other information about the other case.

Discovery commenced for the next couple of years. On May 22, 1997, the plaintiffs moved for sanctions because the defendants did not comply with a discovery order from the later part of 19966. The trial court denied the motion on June 30, 1997. Four months later, on November 17, 1997, the plaintiffs moved for enforcement of the discovery order. On February 17, 1998, the trial court denied the motion and closed discovery, finding that the defendants had complied with their discovery obligations.

The trial docket also indicates that a hearing was held on January 28, 1998, regarding the motion for a preliminary injunction. A few weeks later, one of the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction and to amend the complaint. The outcomes of these motions are not indicated in the trial docket.

On October 13, 1998, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs responded the same day with a cross-motion for summary judgment.

One year later, on October 13, 1999, the trial court (Judge Charles M. Grabau) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the due process claim and denied summary judgment as to all other claims. The court also declared that the conditions of confinement in the East Wing units imposed an atypical and significant hardship and that the conditions were substantially similar to the conditions in the former Department Segregation Unit (DSU), where inmates used to be confined if they were found to pose a substantial threat to others or to security. Lastly, the court ordered that the defendants comply with the regulations controlling the former DSU before housing inmates in the East Wing units. 11 Mass. L. Rptr. 252.

The defendants appealed, and also moved on October 25, 1999, to stay the trial court's judgment. On March 9, 2000, the trial court stayed the paragraph of the October 13 decision that required compliance with the regulations controlling the former DSU (pending appellate review). The court also ordered for the rest of the judgment to be entered, finding no reason to delay doing so.

On October 10, 2002, the Supreme Judicial Court (Chief Justice Marshall) affirmed in part, holding that the DSU regulations apply to the East Wing blocks at MCI-CJ and must be obeyed. The appellate court also remanded the case to the trial court for determining the timing and manner of implementing the injunction, in light of the stay pending appeal. 437 Mass. 737 (2002); 776 N.E.2d 973.

There was a motion filed on October 16, 2002, with the trial court for reconsideration. The motion was denied on November 14, 2002. On December 30, 2002, the defendants moved to stay the order, and the trial court denied it.

The trial court issued an interim order on January 17, 2003, but then stayed the order pending further orders. We have no other information on this interim order beyond what is contained in the trial docket.

On February 7, 2003, the trial court (Justice Patrick J. King) ruled on the equal protection claim, granting equitable relief to prisoners in the form of good time credits. 2003 WL 25530367. The defendants' application for leave to take an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Justice Cordy of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The plaintiffs moved on February 23, 2003, to compel the defendants to make DSU regulations "readily accessible" for prisoners subject to DSU hearings. The court granted the motion on March 10, 2003.

The parties and trial court also agreed on a proposed order for compliance monitoring on March 3, 2003. A few days later, the defendants requested a partial stay, which the trial court granted.

On August 8, 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court (Justice Spina) found that the trial court was not authorized to award unearned good time credits as an equitable remedy, and remanded the case. 440 Mass. 1 (2003); 792 N.E.2d 989.

The defendants had submitted their first report on June 3, 2003, pursuant to the compliance monitoring, but then had to amend it in order to comply with court orders. The court received an amended version on December 31, 2003.

The trial docket contains less information about the remaining six years of the case, so we do not know many details.

On March 11, 2004, the trial court ruled on a motion from the plaintiffs for the defendants to not keep prisoners in the East Wing unless there was substantial evidence that they posed a threat to prison security.

The trial court ordered for entry of dismissal nisi on July 24, 2006. One month later, the parties jointly moved to vacate the order, which the court granted a week later.

In 2008, there were two petitions for contempt, which the trial court dismissed.

On February 26, 2009, the trial court issued an order for the parties to submit a status report indicating whether Longval v. Commissioner of Correction, 404 Mass. 325 (1989), was dispositive in this case and, if not, what remained to be done. According to the docket entry, the parties had indicated in status reports in 2007 that Longval might apply.

The case was dismissed on May 28, 2009.

Summary Authors

Timothy Shoffner (4/30/2013)

Lauren Yu (9/4/2021)

People


Judge(s)

Chernoff, Paul (District of Columbia)

King, Patrick J. (Massachusetts)

Marshall, Margaret H. (Massachusetts)

Spina, Francis X (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barkow, Barry (Massachusetts)

Berkowitz, Peter (Massachusetts)

Goldstein, Amy Robin (Massachusetts)

Kassel, Phillip J (Massachusetts)

Salvesen, Douglas W. (Massachusetts)

White, Nancy Ankers (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Chernoff, Paul (District of Columbia)

King, Patrick J. (Massachusetts)

Marshall, Margaret H. (Massachusetts)

Spina, Francis X (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barkow, Barry (Massachusetts)

Berkowitz, Peter (Massachusetts)

Goldstein, Amy Robin (Massachusetts)

Kassel, Phillip J (Massachusetts)

Salvesen, Douglas W. (Massachusetts)

White, Nancy Ankers (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berner, Joel J. (Massachusetts)

Daniele, Julie E (Massachusetts)

Pingeon, James R. (Massachusetts)

Salzman, William D. (Massachusetts)

Slade, David (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Case Docket [appellate ct]

Haverty vs. Commissioner of Correction

Massachusetts state appellate court

Feb. 3, 2003 Docket

Case Docket [SJC Mass.]

Haverty vs. Commissioner of Correction

Massachusetts state supreme court

Sept. 10, 2003 Docket

Case Docket [trial ct]

Haverty vs. Commissioner of Correction

Massachusetts state supreme court

Nov. 5, 2003 Docket

Docket

Haverty v. Dubois (Commissioner)

May 28, 2009 Docket

Memorandum and Rulings

Haverty v. DoBois

Massachusetts state appellate court

1995 WL 17814072

July 14, 1995 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Haverty v. DuBois

Massachusetts state appellate court

11 Mass. L. Rptr. 252

Oct. 13, 1999 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Havery v. Commissioner of Correction

Massachusetts state supreme court

437 Mass. 737

Oct. 10, 2002 Order/Opinion

Findings of Fact, Rulings of Law, and Order for Judgment

Haverty v. Maloney

Massachusetts state appellate court

2003 WL 25530367

Feb. 7, 2003 Order/Opinion

Opinion

Massachusetts state supreme court

440 Mass. 1

Aug. 8, 2003 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Solitary confinement

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 30, 1995

Closing Date: May 28, 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Due process class: "all prisoners who are now confined or may at some point be confined in any housing unit other than the Department Disciplinary Unit” at MCI-Cedar Junction. Equal protection class: "Hispanic inmates who have been or will in the future be assigned to the Plymouth housing units" at MCI-Cedar Junction.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

State of Massachusetts, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1995 - 2009

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Reporting

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary segregation

Racial segregation

Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)

Discrimination-basis:

National origin discrimination

Race discrimination

Race:

Race, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run