Case: Anderson v. Garner

4:96-cv-00322 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Filed Date: Nov. 19, 1996

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In this case, fourteen prisoners sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), alleging that state correctional officials used excessive force during "shakedowns" or unannounced inspections of prisoners' living areas. During a shakedown, groups of state corrections officers or "Tactical Squads" would conduct an unannounced inspection of prisoners' living areas. Tactical Squads would also subject prisoners to body frisks. The purpose of the inspection was to find and confiscate contraband. T…

In this case, fourteen prisoners sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), alleging that state correctional officials used excessive force during "shakedowns" or unannounced inspections of prisoners' living areas. During a shakedown, groups of state corrections officers or "Tactical Squads" would conduct an unannounced inspection of prisoners' living areas. Tactical Squads would also subject prisoners to body frisks. The purpose of the inspection was to find and confiscate contraband. The suit was brought on behalf of all prisoners who might have been subject to shakedowns in future. The prisoners sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief on behalf of the class.

In their original complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that two shakedowns took place at the Hays State Prison and the Walker State Prison on July 10, 1996. On that day, correctional officers assaulted "dozens" of prisoners who were not resisting while prison officials stood by and failed to intervene. Prison officials present at the time of the shakedowns included Defendant Wayne Garner, Commissioner of the GDC and Defendant A.G. Thomas, Director of Facilities for GDC.

The case was assigned to District Judge, Harold Murphy. The plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification on February 12, 1997. The defendants argued in their motion to dismiss that the plaintiffs were barred from pursuing the suit by Section 802 of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (PLRA). In his order granting the class certification, Judge Murphy rejected the defendants' argument, holding that the case was appropriate for class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2). 22 F.Supp.2d 1379. He held that PLRA did not bar the plaintiffs from proceeding; instead, the law's constraints applied only to the type of relief that courts could provide. The certified class consisted of "all inmates housed in Georgia Department of Corrections facilities who will be subjected to future shakedowns led by Defendants [], their successors, and their agents and assigns."

The Clearinghouse was not able to find any further information about the resolution of this case. But given that there is no PACER docket for the case, it has presumably concluded.

Summary Authors

Gabrielle Simeck (11/22/2020)

People


Judge(s)

Murphy, Harold Lloyd (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Murphy, Harold Lloyd (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Order

22 F.Supp.2d 1379

Sept. 11, 1997 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 19, 1996

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All inmates housed in Georgia Department of Corrections facilities who will be subjected to future shakedowns led by Defendants, their successors, and their agents and assigns.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Excessive force

Search policies

Type of Facility:

Government-run