Case: Prison Legal News v. The GEO Group

1:14-cv-01957 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Filed Date: Nov. 26, 2014

Closed Date: 2015

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 26, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the GEO Group, a Florida for-profit corporation that operates and manages the New Castle Correctional Facility, and the State of Indiana. The plaintiff, represented by attorneys from the ACLU of Indiana and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, cl…

On November 26, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the GEO Group, a Florida for-profit corporation that operates and manages the New Castle Correctional Facility, and the State of Indiana. The plaintiff, represented by attorneys from the ACLU of Indiana and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, claiming that the defendants violated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by censoring its monthly journal, Prison Legal News. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants' prison mail policies unconstitutionally prohibited the distribution of its journal to prisoners in custody and failed to provide PLN with notice of this censorship and an opportunity to contest it.

The Indiana Department of Correction forbade prisoners from using pen-pal services, and the defendants allegedly refused to deliver Prison Legal News because it features advertisements from companies that offer these services. In response, PLN argued that defendants' mail policies lacked a rational basis because prisoners were permitted to receive many other publications with advertisements for items or services that they could not access. PLN therefore claimed that defendants' conduct violated its First Amendment right to communicate with incarcerated individuals and its Fourteenth Amendment right under the Due Process Clause to receive notice of and an opportunity to challenge any decisions to censor its speech.

On January 21, 2015, the parties reached an agreement and filed a stipulation to enter a consent injunction. One day later, the Court (Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson) entered the injunction. Pursuant to the consent agreement, the Court enjoined the defendants from refusing to accept delivery of Prison Legal News and from preventing the prisoners from receiving the journal on the basis that it contained advertisements for prohibited goods or services. The Court also stipulated that if the defendants prevent the prisoners from obtaining any publication in the future, the defendants must mail a notification letter to the sender to inform the sender of the rejection and explain the basis for the decision. The publisher or sender will then have an opportunity to appeal. As another component of the stipulation, the Court directed the defendants to post a copy of the consent injunction in the prisoners' living area for ninety days and to keep a copy in the facility's law library. Finally, the Court ordered the defendants to conduct a live training session for the facility's mailroom staff on complying with the consent injunction. The defendants must certify compliance with this provision within ninety days of the order.

The parties continued to work out a case management plan and set a settlement conference date to discuss the defendant's future performance and whether the previously agreed upon injunction resolves all of plaintiff's claims. The matter was resolved by the parties and they submitted a stipulation of dismissal in August 2015. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Brian Tengel (1/29/2015)

Richa Bijlani (11/16/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Eskew, Kelly R. (Indiana)

Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)

Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)

Rose, Gavin Minor (Indiana)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Forrest, Adam Garth (Indiana)

Judge(s)

Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Eskew, Kelly R. (Indiana)

Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)

Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)

Rose, Gavin Minor (Indiana)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Forrest, Adam Garth (Indiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

March 11, 2016 Docket
1

Complaint

Nov. 26, 2014 Complaint

Press Release

No Court

Dec. 1, 2014 Press Release
23

Order Entering Consent Injunction

Jan. 22, 2015 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under the Civil Rights Act 42 USC 1983 and Damages against All Defendants, filed by PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Filing fee $400, receipt number 0756- 3269109) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Prison Legal News Memo, # 2 Proposed Summons, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet)(Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/26/2014)

Nov. 26, 2014
2

NOTICE of Appearance by Kenneth J. Falk on behalf of Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/26/2014)

Nov. 26, 2014
3

Corporate Disclosure Statement by PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/26/2014)

Nov. 26, 2014
4

NOTICE of Appearance by Kelly R. Eskew on behalf of Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Eskew, Kelly) (Entered: 11/26/2014)

Nov. 26, 2014
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Gavin Minor Rose on behalf of Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Rose, Gavin) (Entered: 12/01/2014)

Dec. 1, 2014
6

MOTION for Attorney(s) Sabarish Neelakanta to Appear pro hac vice (Filing fee $30, receipt number 0756-3270875), filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit In Support of Motion, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/01/2014)

Dec. 1, 2014
7

MOTION for Attorney(s) Lance Weber to Appear pro hac vice (Filing fee $30, receipt number 0756-3270906), filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit in Support of Motion, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/01/2014)

Dec. 1, 2014
8

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order) (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/01/2014)

Dec. 1, 2014
10

MAGISTRATE JUDGE's NOTICE of Availability to Exercise Jurisdiction issued. (DJH) (Entered: 12/01/2014)

Dec. 1, 2014
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Adam Garth Forrest on behalf of Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 12/09/2014)

Dec. 9, 2014
12

Corporate Disclosure Statement by GEO GROUP, INC.. (Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 12/09/2014)

Dec. 9, 2014
13

ORDER granting 6 Motion to Appear pro hac vice. Attorney Sabarish Neelakanta for PRISON LEGAL NEWS added. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 12/10/2014 (dist made) (CBU) (Entered: 12/10/2014)

Dec. 10, 2014
14

ORDER granting 7 Motion to Appear pro hac vice. Attorney Lance Weber for PRISON LEGAL NEWS added. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 12/10/2014 (dist made) (CBU) (Entered: 12/10/2014)

Dec. 10, 2014
15

SCHEDULING ORDER: Status Conference set for 12/22/2014 at 04:00 PM before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 12/18/2014.(REO) (Entered: 12/18/2014)

Dec. 18, 2014
17

First MOTION for Extension of Time to 01/22/2015 in which to Respond to 1 Complaint , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Forrest, Adam) Modified on 12/20/2014 (BGT). (Entered: 12/20/2014)

Dec. 20, 2014
18

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue: Status Conference held on 12/22/2014 - Parties discussed case status and discovery. The parties need time to work out an agreement to resolve the injunction issue. Plaintiff is to provide a draft proposal to Defendants by December 31, 2014; and Defendants are to respond to such proposal on or before January 9, 2015. If necessary, the parties have agreed to the following briefing schedule for the preliminary injunction motion ("PI"): Plaintiff will file its brief in support of the PI by January 14, 2015; Defendants shall file their response on or before by January 30, 2015; and, any reply shall be filed on or before February 10, 2015. Defendants' 17 Motion for Extension of Time is unopposed, and therefore, GRANTED. The Defendants, shall have up to and including January 22, 2015, within which to respond to the Plaintiff's Complaint. The conference concluded without further order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. (REO) Modified on 12/24/2014 (REO). (copies mailed to unregistered counsel) (Entered: 12/24/2014)

Dec. 24, 2014
19

Joint MOTION to Vacate Current Preliminary Injunction Briefing Schedule , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/13/2015)

Jan. 13, 2015
20

ORDER granting Parties' 19 Joint Motion to Vacate the Current Briefing Schedule. IT IS ORDERED that the current preliminary injunction briefing schedule is VACATED, and, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that no later than two weeks from this date the parties shall file any agreement they have reached designed to render plaintiff's preliminary injunction request moot or, if no such agreement has been reached, a proposed new schedule for the briefing of the preliminary injunction motion. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 1/14/2015. (BGT) (Entered: 01/14/2015)

Jan. 14, 2015
21

STIPULATION , re 8 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 01/21/2015) 22 ANSWER to 1 Complaint , filed by All Defendants.(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 01/21/2015)

Jan. 21, 2015

23 ORDER ENTERING CONSENT INJUNCTION. The parties having filed their Stipulation to Enter Consent Injunction, and the Court having reviewed the matter, and being duly advised, finds that the consented to injunction should be entered, and IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the defendants are permanently enjoined as follows: SEE ORDER FOR DETAILS. In light of the parties' stipulation, Plaintiff's 8 Motion for Premilinary Injunction is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 1/22/2015. (BGT) (Entered: 01/23/2015)

24 SCHEDULING ORDER - This matter is scheduled for a telephone status conference on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2015, AT 11:00 A.M., EASTERN. The purpose of the conference is to discuss case briefing on attorney fees and/or damages. Counsel will receive call-in information for the conference via separate email notification. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 1/30/2015.(MGG) (Entered: 01/30/2015)

25 First MOTION for Continuance of Telephonic Status Conference , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 02/05/2015)

26 ORDER granting 25 Defendants' Motion to Continue Telephonic Status Conference - The Telephonic Status Conference scheduled for 2/23/2015, at 11:00 AM is VACATED and RESET for 3/5/2015, at 4:00 PM, Eastern, before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. Counsel will receive call-in instructions via separate email notification. Copy sent to Lance Weber & Sabarish Neelakanta via US Mail. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 2/12/2015.(JLM) (Entered: 02/12/2015)

28 CASE MANAGEMENT PLAN TENDERED, filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS . (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 03/02/2015)

29 MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue: Status Conference held on 03/05/2015 - Parties discussed the damages and attorney fee issue. Parties have submitted proposed case management plan which was reviewed and approved as amended. Telephonic Status Conference set for 6/9/2015 at 08:30 AM before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. Counsel will receive call-in instructions for the conference via separate email notification. The conference concluded without further order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. (REO) (Entered: 03/13/2015)

30 ORDER: CASE MANAGEMENT PLAN APPROVED AS AMENDED. Discovery due by 9/26/2015. Dispositive Motions due by 11/26/2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 3/13/2015.(MGG) (Entered: 03/16/2015)

31 NOTICE of Service of Initial Disclosures , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 03/26/2015)

32 NOTICE of Service of Initial Disclosures , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS. (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 03/26/2015)

33 MOTION for Scheduling of Settlement Conference , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 03/27/2015)

34 PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES before Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. (MRI) (Entered: 03/28/2015)

https://ecf.insd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/DktRpt.pl?122736736848918-L_1_0-1 35 ORDER - granting 33 Motion for Scheduling of a Settlement Conference; The Motion is in proper order and the settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Denise K. Larue shall be scheduled, together with additional orders concerning the obligations of the parties with respect to the same, by separate entry. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 3/30/2015. (CKM) (Entered: 03/30/2015)

36 Witness List -Preliminary- , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS, Exhibit List - Preliminary- , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS. (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 04/24/2015)

37 SCHEDULING ORDER - This matter is scheduled for a settlement conference on WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2015, AT 9:30 A.M., EASTERN, in Room 255, United States Courthouse, 46 East Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. **SEE ORDER**. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 4/24/2015. (MGG) (Entered: 04/27/2015)

38 First MOTION for Continuance of Settlement Conference , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 05/07/2015)

39 MOTION to Withdraw Attorney Appearance , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Eskew, Kelly) (Entered: 05/08/2015)

40 ORDER granting 38 Motion for Continuance-Settlement Conference reset for 8/10/2015 01:30 PM in room #255, United States Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 5/13/2015.(CBU) (Entered: 05/14/2015)

41 ORDER granting 39 Motion to Withdraw Attorney Appearance. The appearance of Kelly R. Eskew shall be withdrawn effective May 15, 2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 5/15/2015. (MGG) (Entered: 05/18/2015)

42 Witness List , preliminary , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC., Exhibit List , preliminary , filed by Defendants KEITH BUTTS, GEO GROUP, INC.. (Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 05/26/2015)

43 Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to 06/25/2015 to Add Parties and Amend Pleadings , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Rose, Gavin) (Entered: 05/26/2015)

44 NOTICE of Correction to 43 Unopposed Motion to Extend Deadline to Add Parties or Amend Pleadings , filed by Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS (Falk, Kenneth) (Entered: 05/26/2015)

45 ORDER - granting 43 Motion to extend time for case management deadline for adding parties or amending pleadings is hereby extended to June 25, 2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 5/27/2015. (CKM) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

https://ecf.insd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/DktRpt.pl?122736736848918-L_1_0-1 5/6 47 MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue: Status Conference held on 6/9/2015 - Parties discussed case status, discovery, and settlement. Due to Defendant's counsel's scheduling conflict and the parties desire to have an earlier settlement conference, the settlement conference is moved from August 10, 2015 to THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2015 AT 1:30 P.M. in Room 255 of the U.S. Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. In preparation for a productive settlement conference, Defendant is directed to provide an offer in response to Plaintiff's April 27, 2015, settlement demand on or before June 12, 2015. Counsel shall email a courtesy copy of the response to this Magistrate Judge at MJLarue@insd.uscourts.gov. All mandates of the Court's Order Setting Settlement Conference [Dkt. 37] remain valid and shall be followed by the parties or their counsel, as applicable. Plaintiff orally moved to extend the time to add parties or otherwise amend the pleadings to a period ending 30 days after the settlement conference. Defendant had no objection, so the motion is granted and the deadline to amend and/or add parties is now extended from June 25, 2015 to August 30, 2015. The conference concluded without further order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. (REO) (Entered: 06/09/2015)

48

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue: Settlement Conference held on 7/30/2015 - Conference concluded and matter is now resolved. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue. (REO) (Entered: 08/06/2015)

Aug. 6, 2015
49

ORDER TO FILE STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL: The parties having notified the Court that this case settled, the Court hereby orders parties to file their Stipulation of Dismissal on or before SEPTEMBER 7, 2015. Any previously-ordered dates and deadlines are VACATED and any pending motions, except for motions to seal, are DENIED as MOOT. Signed by Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on 8/7/2015.(SWM) (Entered: 08/07/2015)

Aug. 7, 2015
50

STIPULATION of Dismissal , filed by Defendant GEO GROUP, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order, # 2 Exhibit Consent Injunction, # 3 Exhibit Settlement Agreement)(Forrest, Adam) (Entered: 08/14/2015)

Aug. 14, 2015
51

ORDER approving Parties' 50 Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice, each party to bear its own costs accrued up to the date that this Order in entered by the Court. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 8/17/2015. Distribution made. (BGT) (Entered: 08/17/2015)

Aug. 17, 2015
52

MOTION for Copies, filed by non-party DAVID W. HAYDEN. (Attachments: # 1 Envelope) (BGT) (Entered: 02/19/2016)

Feb. 18, 2016
53

MARGINAL ENTRY regarding Mr. Hayden's 52 Motion for Copies. The clerk is directed to provide a copy of dkt. 50-2 to Mr. Hayden. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 3/11/2016. Copy sent to Mr. Hayden via U.S. Mail. (BGT) (Entered: 03/14/2016)

March 11, 2016

State / Territory: Indiana

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Prison Legal News

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 26, 2014

Closing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, publishes a monthly journal that it distributes to prisoners in facilities across the country. The publication is designed to educate prisoners and the public about the destructive nature of racism, sexism, and the economic and social costs that prisons impose on society.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The GEO Group (Boca Raton), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Required disclosure

Issues

General:

Mail

Type of Facility:

Non-government for profit