Case: Etters v. Young

5:09-ct-03187 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Filed Date: Nov. 18, 2009

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Case Summary

On November 18, 2009, female inmates of the North Carolina Department of Correction (DOC) filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against individual employees and supervisors. The plaintiffs, represented by the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, claiming that the defendants violated their Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights…

On November 18, 2009, female inmates of the North Carolina Department of Correction (DOC) filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against individual employees and supervisors. The plaintiffs, represented by the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, claiming that the defendants violated their Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that various DOC employees had sexually assaulted, abused, or harassed them during their confinement and that certain supervisory defendants did nothing to prevent the abuse.

On September 10, 2010, Judge James C. Dever denied the plaintiffs' class certification motion without prejudice.

On March 16, 2011, Judge Dever granted in part a motion by several defendants for judgment on the pleadings, dismissed two plaintiffs and four defendants, and dismissed the remaining plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment claims. The court also denied the plaintiffs' second motion for class certification. Etters v. Bennett, 2011 WL 976472 (E.D.N.C. Mar. 16, 2011). The plaintiffs appealed, and on August 30, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion per curiam dismissing one of the plaintiff's appeals when her claim was dismissed by the district court. King v. Bennett, 444 F. App'x 686 (4th Cir. 2011).

On August 1, 2011, Judge Dever denied one of the defendant's motion for appointment of counsel (because he failed to fill out the necessary form) and denied a motion to intervene by another inmate. Etters v. Bennett, 2011 WL 3320489 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 1, 2011).

On May 18, 2012, plaintiff Deven Deal and defendants Keller, Bennett, Kimble, Harvey, and Blalock filed a joint stipulation of dismissal, seeking dismissal with prejudice of plaintiff Deal's claims against these defendants. On May 21, 2012, Deal filed a second notice of voluntary dismissal, seeking dismissal with prejudice of her claims against defendant Barbosa. On the same date, plaintiff Sandra Etters and defendants Young, Lancaster, and Harvey filed a joint motion to expedite the entry of an order based on their proposed settlement agreement, and Etters filed a motion for entry of default judgment against defendant Simms. The defendants agreed to improve sexual safety through policies, training practices, changes to physical facilities, and other measures for the prevention of sexual abuse.

On May 30, 2012, the court approved the two voluntary dismissals and approved the settlement by the parties providing for changes to state policies concerning reporting and investigating claims of sexual abuse by inmates. The court also approved a default judgment for Etters against Simms, the only remaining claims. Etters v. Young, 2012 WL 1950415 (E.D.N.C. May 30, 2012).

On February 6, 2013, Magistrate Judge James E. Gates issued a memorandum and recommendation that Etters be awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages, for a total damages award of $200,000 from defendant Charlie Cortez Simms. No party filed any objections. Etters v. Shanahan, 2013 WL 787344 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 6, 2013). Etters v. Shanahan, 2013 WL 787344 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 6, 2013).

On March 4, 2013, Judge Dever dismissed the claims of two of the plaintiffs and dismissed four of the defendants. The court also dismissed the six of the defendants as to the third plaintiff. Judge Dever also accepted the memorandum and recommendation of Magistrate Judge Gates. Etters v. Shanahan, 2013 WL 792834 (E.D.N.C. Mar. 4, 2013).

Summary Authors

Jessica Kincaid (7/14/2014)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5515194/parties/etters-v-bennett/


Judge(s)

Dever, James C. III (North Carolina)

Gates, James E. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albiston, Elizabeth (North Carolina)

Giancola, April Marie (North Carolina)

Griffin, J. Phillip (North Carolina)

Luecking-Sunman, Michele R. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Finarelli, Joseph (North Carolina)

Grande, Kimberly D. (North Carolina)

Ricci, Yvonne Bulluck (North Carolina)

Judge(s)

Dever, James C. III (North Carolina)

Gates, James E. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albiston, Elizabeth (North Carolina)

Giancola, April Marie (North Carolina)

Griffin, J. Phillip (North Carolina)

Luecking-Sunman, Michele R. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Finarelli, Joseph (North Carolina)

Grande, Kimberly D. (North Carolina)

Ricci, Yvonne Bulluck (North Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Etters v. Bennett

March 13, 2013 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint ( Jury Trial Demanded)

Etters v. Bennett

Nov. 18, 2009 Complaint
49

Order [Denying Motion for Class Certification]

Etters v. Bennett

Sept. 10, 2010 Order/Opinion
57

Order [Dismissing Class Claims]

Etters v. Bennett

2011 WL 976472

March 16, 2011 Order/Opinion
91

Order [Denying Motion to Intervene]

Etters v. Bennett

2011 WL 3320489

Aug. 1, 2011 Order/Opinion
14-1

Judgment

Etters v. Bennett

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Aug. 30, 2011 Order/Opinion
130

Joint Motion to Expedite Entry of Order and Agreement

Etters v. Bennett

May 21, 2012 Settlement Agreement
130-1

Order and Agreement

Etters v. Bennett

May 21, 2012 Settlement Agreement
133

Order [Granting Voluntary Dismissal]

Etters v. Bennett

2012 WL 1950415

May 30, 2012 Order/Opinion
151

Memorandum and Recommendation

Etters v. Shanahan

2013 WL 787344

Feb. 6, 2013 Magistrate Report/Recommendation

Resources

Title Description External URL

Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies for Preserving the Role of the Courts

Margo Schlanger

This Article is part of the University of Miami Law Review’s Leading from Below Symposium. It canvasses prisoners’ lawyers’ strategies prompted by the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). The … Dec. 1, 2015 http://lawreview.law.miami.edu/prisoners-rights-lawyers-strategies-preserving-role-courts/

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5515194/etters-v-bennett/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
49

ORDER - denying without prejudice 2 Motion to Certify Class. Granting 29 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Not later than September 27, 2010, the Office ofthe Attorney General shall notify the court whether it will represent Simms and Barbosa. Signed by Judge James C. Dever III on 9/10/2010. (Indig, A.)

Sept. 10, 2010 RECAP
57

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 30 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; the claims of plaintiffs Singletary and King are DISMISSED; defendants Moore, Ford, Wiggins, and Jones are DISMISSED; plaintiff Etter's claims against Simms an d the supervisory defendants (except Kimble) under the Fourth and the Eighth Amendment survive, but her Fourteenth Amendment claim fails; plaintiff Deal, her Fourth and Eighth Amendment claims against Barbosa and the supervisory defendants (except Ki mble) survive, her Fourth Amendment claim against Blalock and the supervisory defendants (except Harvey) survives, but her Eighth Amendment claim against Blalock fails as does her Fourteenth Amendment claim; dismissing Etters and Deal's First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment class claims; and denying as moot 44 Motion to Strike. Signed by District Judge James C. Dever, III on 3/16/2011. (McDowell, G.)

March 16, 2011 RECAP
91

ORDER denying 52 Motion to Appoint Counsel ; denying 73 Motion to Intervene. Signed by US District Judge James C. Dever, III on 8/1/2011. Copy mailed to defendant Barbosa. (McDowell, G.)

Aug. 1, 2011 RECAP
113

PROTECTIVE ORDER. Signed by Magistrate Judge James E. Gates on 10/31/2011. (Indig, A.)

Nov. 1, 2011 RECAP
120

ORDER - DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE 72 Motion to Certify Class. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 1/9/2012. (Indig, A.)

Jan. 9, 2012 RECAP
133

ORDER - GRANTING plaintiff Deal's requests for a voluntary dismissal with prejudice [D.E. 129. 131], and DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE plaintiff Deal's claims. GRANTING 132 Motion for Default Judgment and REFERS the motion to Magistrate Jud ge James E. Gates for a hearing and recommendation on damages. GRANTING 130 Motion to expedite approval of settlement agreement and hereby APPROVES the settlement agreement [D.E. 130-1], subject to the limitations of 18 U.S.C. § 3626. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 5/30/2012. (Indig, A.)

May 30, 2012 RECAP
151

MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATIONS - on the issue of damages due plaintiff from Simms; Objections to Memorandum and Recommendations due by 2/20/2013. Signed by US Magistrate Judge James E. Gates on 2/6/2013. Copy mailed via US Postal service to defendants Simms and Barbosa. (McDowell, G.)

Feb. 6, 2013 RECAP
154

ORDER - the court accepts the Memorandum and Recommendation 151 . Etters is awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages, for a total damages award of $200,000 from defendant Charlie Cortez Simms. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 3/4/2013. Copy sent to Defendant Simms via US Mail. (Indig, A.)

March 4, 2013 RECAP

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 18, 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Female inmates of the North Carolina Department of Correction who were sexually assaulted, abused, and harassed by employees.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

North Carolina Department of Correction, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Equal Protection

Freedom of speech/association

Unreasonable search and seizure

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

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 200,000

Order Duration: 2012 - 2015

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reporting

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Failure to train

Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run