Case: Kelley v. Hodgson

98-03083 | Massachusetts state trial court

Filed Date: 1998

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1998, inmates in the Bristol County Jail filed a class action suit on behalf of all present and future inmates challenging the overcrowded conditions at the jail. The Superior Court of Massachusetts for Suffolk County (Judge John C. Cratsley) enjoined defendant from using port-a-bunks, which allowed inmates to sleep on common areas floors, and from triple-bunking any cell. This preliminary injunction would last until November 16, 1998, when the new unit of the jail was scheduled for completi…

In 1998, inmates in the Bristol County Jail filed a class action suit on behalf of all present and future inmates challenging the overcrowded conditions at the jail. The Superior Court of Massachusetts for Suffolk County (Judge John C. Cratsley) enjoined defendant from using port-a-bunks, which allowed inmates to sleep on common areas floors, and from triple-bunking any cell. This preliminary injunction would last until November 16, 1998, when the new unit of the jail was scheduled for completion. In addition, the court enjoined defendant from confining more than one inmate per cell once the new unit opened. The court denied some of plaintiffs' requested injunctive relief with respect to housing of local arrestees, closing the prison due to fire code violations, inmate co-pay policy, and appointment of a Special Master to oversee the Sheriff. Kelley v. Hodgson, 1998 WL 1181663 (Mass. Super. 1998).

The plaintiffs moved on August 23, 2004, to amend the 1998 preliminary injunction, adding a claim that the defendant also engaged in "dry-celling" inmates, which deprived those inmates of access to toilets. On September 13, 2004, the court granted the motion and expanded the 1998 preliminary injunction to prohibit the defendant from "dry-celling."

On September 24, 2008, the court granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment from the defendant. The summary judgment addressed the defendant's individual liability, but not his liability in his official capacity as the Sheriff of Bristol County.

The plaintiffs then moved for summary judgment as to the defendant's liability in his official capacity, specifically on the issues of "dry-celling" inmates, using port-a-bunks, and double- or triple-bunking inmates. On September 24, 2009, the court granted summary judgment for the port-a-bunks and for double- and triple-bunking. However, the court denied summary judgment for "dry-celling." The court also noted that the qualified immunity did not protect the defendant in his official capacity. The court did not award any damages.

The parties negotiated a settlement regarding relief and attorneys' fees, and the court approved the settlement on December 18, 2012. We do not have the settlement, so the details are unknown.

As of August 23, 2021, the plaintiffs' counsel is monitoring compliance, according to its website.

Summary Authors

Lauren Cutson (5/23/2005)

Lauren Yu (8/23/2021)

People


Judge(s)

Cratsley, John C. (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Cratsley, John C. (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

98-03083

Memorandum of Decision and Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction

1998 WL 1181663, 1998 Mass.Super.LEXIS 553

Oct. 2, 1998

Oct. 2, 1998

Order/Opinion

98-03083

Memorandum of Decision and Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

Kelly v. Hodsgon

Sept. 24, 2009

Sept. 24, 2009

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 1, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1998

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates of the Bristol County Jail

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

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

Sheriff of Bristol County (Bristol), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

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

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1998 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Bathing and hygiene

Conditions of confinement

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run