Case: Kelly v. Corrections Corporation of America

1:11-cv-00185 | U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho

Filed Date: April 27, 2011

Closed Date: May 23, 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case sprang from Riggs v. Rodriguez (docket #: 1:09-cv-00010-EJL), which Riggs filed pro se seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the Correction Corporation of America's (CCA) alleged failure to prevent his assault and provide adequate medical treatment. Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed to take his case and filed an amended complaint that added a class action lawsuit seeking only injunctive relief with several new named plaintiffs. After a series of dis…

This case sprang from Riggs v. Rodriguez (docket #: 1:09-cv-00010-EJL), which Riggs filed pro se seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the Correction Corporation of America's (CCA) alleged failure to prevent his assault and provide adequate medical treatment. Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed to take his case and filed an amended complaint that added a class action lawsuit seeking only injunctive relief with several new named plaintiffs. After a series of disputes about whether the class action and Riggs' case should proceed together, the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit moved to sever their case from the monetary claims. The court granted their motion on April 27, 2011 and allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint that same day which serves as the basis for this lawsuit. This case was assigned to Judge Edward J. Lodge and referred to Judge David O. Carter for settlement negotiations.

Eight inmates at Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of all those who were or would be imprisoned at ICC. Claiming their 8th and 14th Amendment rights to be protected against assault from other prisoners had been violated in pursuit of profit, the plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that CCA created a substantial and unnecessary risk of assault and failed to protect inmates against assault because of the following practices: running the prison near or above full capacity, hiring inadequate numbers of staff to supervise and protect inmates, employing poor training, failing to investigate and provide a report for each incident, threatening to and intentionally placing inmates near particularly violent/predatory individuals (often to force an inmate to be an informant), ignoring inmates' requests to be moved, failing to discipline or refer for prosecution prisoners who assaulted other inmates, failing to investigate and discipline staff whose actions caused or contributed to assaults, and concealing institutional problems with violence by issuing disciplinary citations to victims of assault, and refusing to take x-rays or perform other medical tests that would reveal the extent of inmates' injuries.

The parties came to a settlement agreement on September 16, 2011. The agreement was filed with the court and entered on September 20, 2011 along with a voluntary dismissal of all claims with prejudice. The agreement provided for a variety of reporting, investigating, training, and staffing requirements. Several of the provisions required CCA to meet the terms of its contract and follow Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) Standard Operating Procedures, though some provisions required CCA to exceed them. The terms also required CCA to make housing assignments based on all relevant safety considerations, to place inmates who claimed to be at risk of assault into appropriate housing, and refer all cases that appeared to be serious enough to qualify as aggravated battery to the county sheriff. Attorneys' fees and costs were confidential under the agreement, which was to last for 2 years. The court retained jurisdiction under the agreement as a last resort to resolve disputes.

Between December 2012 and January 2013, CCA and IDOC received reports that staffing records at ICC had been falsified during the post-settlement period. IDOC initiated an audit of ICC’s staffing records and CCA hired an investigator. On April 11, 2013, IDOC issued a press release, stating that CCA’s employees had falsified staffing records to represent that correctional officers were staffing mandatory security posts when those posts had in fact been vacant for a total of nearly 4,800 hours during a seven-month period in 2012. That same day, CCA issued its own press release stating there were “some inaccuracies” in its staffing records.

On February 21, 2013, the parties amended the stipulation. The court adopted the amendment on March 1, 2013. The amendment provided for the appointment of an independent investigator and shifted reviewing duties to the investigator. The amendment also required the investigator to examine at least 30% of the monthly reports and report on whether they were complete or deficient.

In June 2013, the plaintiffs moved in the district court for an order to show cause as to why CCA should not be held in contempt for violating the court’s dismissal order. The district court referred the motion to Judge Carter, sitting by special designation in the District of Idaho. CCA opposed the motion, partly on the ground that the district court did not have jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. The district court held it had jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement and issued the requested order.

On September 16, 2013, Judge Carter held the defendants in contempt for violating the settlement agreement and extended the settlement by two years. 979 F. Supp. 2d 1104. The defendants appealed.

On February 20, 2014, the court approved the plaintiffs' motion for attorneys’ fees. 7 F. Supp. 3d 1069. The plaintiffs were awarded $349,018.52 in fees and costs. The defendants appealed this ruling as well.

On May 23, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed both the contempt finding and the attorneys’ fees in a unanimous opinion by Judge William Fletcher (joined by Judges Fisher and Wilken). 822 F.3d 1085. The court reasoned that the contempt finding was warranted because CCA did not take all reasonable steps to comply with the order, as is required by well-established law, and because the contempt finding was civil in nature, and therefore did not require procedural safeguards applicable in criminal proceedings. The court deemed the extension of the settlement agreement within the district court’s power. The court further concluded that the attorneys’ fees award did not violate the PLRA.

The defendants petitioned for a rehearing en banc. On July 7, 2016, the Court of Appeals denied the petition.

On August 25, 2016, the appellee’s motion for attorneys’ fees was referred to Appellate Commissioner Peter L. Shaw. Appellants did not dispute appellee’s eligibility for fees, but did dispute the reasonableness of the requested hours and fees amount. On August 29, the motion for fees was referred to the Circuit Mediator. On October 24, 2016, the court issued an order stating that the parties informed the court that they had resolved the motion for attorneys’ fees. The order did not contain information about the fees amount.

This case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Kenneth Gray (7/10/2013)

Katherine Reineck (2/14/2016)

Julie Singer (3/6/2017)

Hannah Greenhouse (3/21/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4903012/parties/kelly-v-wengler/


Judge(s)

Carter, David O. (California)

Fletcher, William A. (California)

Lodge, Edward J. (Idaho)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bojanowski, Timothy J (Arizona)

Cooper, Lea C. (Idaho)

Eppink, Richard Allen (Idaho)

Huegli, James D (Idaho)

Naylor, Kirtlan G. (Idaho)

Pevar, Stephen L. (Connecticut)

Stoll, James R. (Idaho)

Judge(s)

Carter, David O. (California)

Fletcher, William A. (California)

Lodge, Edward J. (Idaho)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bojanowski, Timothy J (Arizona)

Cooper, Lea C. (Idaho)

Eppink, Richard Allen (Idaho)

Huegli, James D (Idaho)

Naylor, Kirtlan G. (Idaho)

Pevar, Stephen L. (Connecticut)

Stoll, James R. (Idaho)

Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Burger, Gary Harold (Arizona)

Popolizio, Joseph John (Arizona)

Wahlin, Lisa S. (Arizona)

Zoellner, Tara B. (Arizona)

Other Attorney(s)

Brown, Charles A. (Idaho)

Shulz, David A. (New York)

Zansberg, Steven David (Colorado)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:11-cv-00185

Docket [PACER]

Kelly v. Wengler

Oct. 24, 2016

Oct. 24, 2016

Docket
143-2

1:11-cv-00185

Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief

Kelly v. Wengler

Feb. 21, 2011

Feb. 21, 2011

Complaint
2

1:09-cv-00010

Memorandum Order

Riggs v. Valdez

April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011

Order/Opinion
26

1:11-cv-00185

Order for Dismissal

Kelly v. Wengler

Sept. 20, 2011

Sept. 20, 2011

Order/Opinion
25

1:11-cv-00185

Stipulation for Dismissal (with Consent Decree)

Kelly v. Timothy Wengler and Corrections Corporation of America, Inc.

Sept. 20, 2011

Sept. 20, 2011

Settlement Agreement
56

1:11-cv-00185

Memorandum Decision and Order

Kelly v. Wengler

July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013

Order/Opinion
76

1:11-cv-00185

Memorandum and Order

Kelly v. Wengler

Sept. 16, 2013

Sept. 16, 2013

Order/Opinion
129

1:11-cv-00185

Order Granting Attorney Fees

Kelly v. Wengler

Feb. 20, 2014

Feb. 20, 2014

Order/Opinion

1:11-cv-00185

13-35972

14-35199

Opinion

Kelly v. Wengler

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4903012/kelly-v-wengler/

Last updated Aug. 28, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
2

MEMORANDUM ORDER (Docketed in CV 09-10-S-EJL and also ordered to place in new CV 11-185-S-EJL). Signed by Judge Edward J. Lodge. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by dks)

April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Idaho

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Prison Legal News

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 27, 2011

Closing Date: May 23, 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Eight inmates who had at various times been assaulted by other inmates at the Idaho Correctional Center filing on behalf of themselves and similarly situated individuals

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Corrections Corporation of America, Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Voluntary Dismissal

Order Duration: 2011 - 2015

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Monitoring

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Classification / placement

Disciplinary procedures

Excessive force

Failure to discipline

Incident/accident reporting & investigations

Protective custody

Record-keeping

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Non-government for-profit