Case: Perry v. Fair

4:89-cv-00031 | U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Filed Date: Jan. 5, 1989

Closed Date: 1993

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 5, 1989, five prisoners at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction ("the Jail") filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the County of Worcester, the County Sheriff, and the Massachusetts Departments of Correction and Public Health. The plaintiffs, represented by Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services and private counsel, brought their suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the conditions at the Jail violated t…

On January 5, 1989, five prisoners at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction ("the Jail") filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the County of Worcester, the County Sheriff, and the Massachusetts Departments of Correction and Public Health. The plaintiffs, represented by Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services and private counsel, brought their suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the conditions at the Jail violated their rights under the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Massachusetts. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On May 11, 1989, the District Court certified the case as a class action, appointing plaintiffs as representatives of a class of all present and future persons housed at the Jail and of two subclasses, one of pretrial detainees housed at the Jail and the other of sentenced inmates housed at the jail.

On August 30, 1989, the parties informed the Court that they had reached a settlement, and on October 6, 1989, the Court (Judge Rya W. Zobel) issued an order approving the parties proposed consent decree. The terms of the decree called for a series of population caps, ending in 1990 at 188 pretrial detainees and 290 sentenced inmates, and imposed requirements regarding admission procedure, access to the courts, medical care and treatment, visitation, activities and jobs for prisoners, food services, and linens and bedding. Defendants were required to submit progress reports for the first three years of the decree, and the Court retained jurisdiction to enforce compliance.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the only defendant not to join in the settlement, moved the Court to dismiss it from the action, and on December 28, 1989, the Court (Judge Zobel) granted its motion, finding that plaintiffs had not stated a cause of action against it. Perry v. Fair, 1989 WL 159600, 1989 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16302 (D. Mass. 1989).

The docket indicates that following these developments, the Court appointed a special master, William E. Bernstein, who served from July 12, 1990, to October 5, 1993, overseeing compliance for the Court. It also indicates that the Court issued an order clarifying the consent decree on February 21, 1995, and granted plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees on September 11, 1995, awarding them $106,917.40 in fees and $12,776.29 in other expenses. The Court also terminated a motion to amend the decree and a motion to compel compliance on September 30, 1998. (We currently have no further information on the content of these motions.)

There is no activity on the docket for the following eight years; activity resumed when, in 2006, the defendants moved to vacate or terminate the consent decree in light of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Eventually, the parties came to an agreement on how to amend the consent decree and submitted it to the court on July 3, 2007. The changes included an increase in the population cap to 1,251 prisoners due to the building of new facilities with higher capacity, deletion of the requirements regarding admission procedures, access to the courts, medical care and treatment, visitation, food services, and linens and bedding as no longer necessary, and the addition of a clause causing the decree to terminate when additional facilities were constructed at the jail with a rated capacity of 200.

The Court (Judge Zobel) approved the amendment on July 23, 2007, and then on November 8 approved a slightly different version that added details on compliance with the population cap.

As of January 31, 2018, there was no further litigation, and the case is presumably now closed.

Summary Authors

Christopher Schad (7/19/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Zobel, Rya Weickert (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Costanza, Peter (Massachusetts)

Salvesen, Douglas W. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fletcher-Hill, Lawrence Paul (Maryland)

Gray, Michael A. (Massachusetts)

Knuuttila, Brian (Massachusetts)

McCarthy, Ann M. (Massachusetts)

O'Brien, Edward F. Jr. (Massachusetts)

O'Malley, Hugh B. (Massachusetts)

Reed, Raymond J. (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Zobel, Rya Weickert (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Costanza, Peter (Massachusetts)

Salvesen, Douglas W. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fletcher-Hill, Lawrence Paul (Maryland)

Gray, Michael A. (Massachusetts)

Knuuttila, Brian (Massachusetts)

McCarthy, Ann M. (Massachusetts)

O'Brien, Edward F. Jr. (Massachusetts)

O'Malley, Hugh B. (Massachusetts)

Reed, Raymond J. (Massachusetts)

Saltzman, William D (Massachusetts)

Turco, Jeffrey R. (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:89-cv-00031

Docket (PACER)

Perry v. Commissioner of Corrections

April 8, 2008

April 8, 2008

Docket
144-2

4:89-cv-00031

Consent Decree

Oct. 6, 1989

Oct. 6, 1989

Settlement Agreement

4:89-cv-00031

Memorandum of Decision [Dismissing Defendant Public Health Commissioner from the Case]

1989 WL 159600, 1989 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16302

Dec. 28, 1989

Dec. 28, 1989

Order/Opinion
177

4:89-cv-00031

Joint Motion to Amend Consent Decree [and Defendant Sheriff's] Memorandum of Law in Support

Perry v. Glodis

July 3, 2007

July 3, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
179

4:89-cv-00031

Modification to Consent Decree

July 23, 2007

July 23, 2007

Settlement Agreement
185

4:89-cv-00031

Amended Modification to Consent Decree

Nov. 8, 2007

Nov. 8, 2007

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 20, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 5, 1989

Closing Date: 1993

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

prisoners at the Worcester County Jail

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Worcester County Jail and House of Correction (Worcester), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $119,693.69 (fees)

Order Duration: 1989 - None

Content of Injunction:

Monitor/Master

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Conditions of confinement

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Visiting

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Post-PLRA Population Cap

Pre-PLRA Population Cap

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run