Case: Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. v. Coupe

1:15-cv-00688 | U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware

Filed Date: Aug. 6, 2015

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 6, 2015, Delaware's Community Legal Aid Society filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The plaintiffs sued the Delaware Department of Correction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act (42 U.S.C. § 10801), and the Declaratory Judgment Act (28 U.S.C. § 2201). Represented by the ACLU and private counsel, the plaintiff sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. The plaintiff claimed…

On August 6, 2015, Delaware's Community Legal Aid Society filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The plaintiffs sued the Delaware Department of Correction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act (42 U.S.C. § 10801), and the Declaratory Judgment Act (28 U.S.C. § 2201). Represented by the ACLU and private counsel, the plaintiff sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. The plaintiff claimed constitutionally inadequate treatment, housing, and care of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the state was confining prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement without providing proper medical and mental health treatment for serious medical and mental health needs and without allowing adequate out-of-cell time. The complaint alleged that the defendants failed to promptly acknowledge or provide the minimum appropriate care for mentally-ill prisoners, and instead exacerbated their illnesses.

On March 16, 2016, Judge Gregory M. Sleet denied defendant's motion to dismiss, except for for claims brought under the Delaware state constitution. 2016 WL 1055741.

The parties engaged in settlement discussions and mediation. On August 31, 2016, the plaintiff submitted a proposed agreement and order. On September 1, 2016, Judge Sleet issued an order approving the agreement.

The agreement included specific actions and policies for improving mental health care for the incarcerated population, improving conditions of confinement and other aspects of restrictive housing, and reducing the length of disciplinary sanctions and the use of other forms of restrictive housing. The specific actions include adopting a definition of serious mental illness, creating a mechanism to identify and record prisoners as mentally ill and review their required level of care, adhering to a policy requiring that care be provided in accordance with treatment plans, creating a special needs unit, providing training to security staff for working with mentally ill patients, implementing policies for offering prisoners five hours of unstructured recreation per week and increasing out-of-cell-time, among others. The defendant agreed to pay the attorneys' fees. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties with approval of the court, the agreement and order was scheduled to terminate after five years.

A prisoner housed in solitary confinement during the litigation and agreement subsequently filed letters to Judge Sleet (January 30, 2017, February 10 and 14, 2017), motions for preliminary injunction (February 7 and 10, 2017), and a motion for a writ of mandamus (February 8, 2017). On February 13, 2017, Judge Sleet dismissed the motions and letters because the prisoner filing them was not a party to the case, and because the case was closed.

On May 28, 2019, a notice of violation of the agreement order was filed and sent to Judge Sleet. A motion for contempt was filed by Leroy Shelley, who was incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, on April 9, 2020, and the case was reassigned to Judge Colm Connolly on April 15.

On February 5, 2021, Judge Connolly denied the motion for contempt and placed Shelley on notice that his future filings in this case would be docketed and not considered, for three reasons: 1) He was not a party to this case; 2) the provisions of enforcement didn’t contemplate enforcement by an inmate or non-party; and 3) the case had closed on September 9, 2016.

The agreement remains ongoing.

Summary Authors

Lakshmi Gopal (5/14/2016)

Julie Singer (3/5/2017)

John Duffield (8/6/2021)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5135086/parties/community-legal-aid-society-inc-v-coupe/


Judge(s)

Sleet, Gregory Moneta (Delaware)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Atkins, Daniel Gary (Delaware)

Chuff, Christopher Brian (Delaware)

Cline, Joanna J. (Delaware)

Dolinsky, Kyle A. (Pennsylvania)

Levine, James Harry Stone (Delaware)

McMillan, James Gordon III (Delaware)

Morse, Richard H. (Delaware)

Reibach, Ashleigh Kara (Delaware)

Schanne, John H. II (Delaware)

Judge(s)

Sleet, Gregory Moneta (Delaware)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Atkins, Daniel Gary (Delaware)

Chuff, Christopher Brian (Delaware)

Cline, Joanna J. (Delaware)

Dolinsky, Kyle A. (Pennsylvania)

Levine, James Harry Stone (Delaware)

McMillan, James Gordon III (Delaware)

Morse, Richard H. (Delaware)

Reibach, Ashleigh Kara (Delaware)

Schanne, John H. II (Delaware)

Stratton, David B (Delaware)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Handlon, Joseph Clement (Delaware)

Staib, Jason Wade (Delaware)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:15-cv-00688

Docket [PACER]

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

Docket
1

1:15-cv-00688

Complaint

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

Complaint
30

1:15-cv-00688

Memorandum and Order

2016 WL 1055741

March 16, 2016

March 16, 2016

Order/Opinion
38

1:15-cv-00688

Agreement and Order

Community Legal Aid Society v. Coupe

Aug. 31, 2016

Aug. 31, 2016

Settlement Agreement
63

1:15-cv-00688

Order

Dec. 20, 2017

Dec. 20, 2017

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5135086/community-legal-aid-society-inc-v-coupe/

Last updated Aug. 10, 2022, 3:07 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

No Summons Issued

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER

No Summons Issued

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
1

COMPLAINT filed against Robert M. Coupe - Magistrate Consent Notice to Pltf. ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 0311-1765841.) - filed by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(sar) (Entered: 08/06/2015)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
1

Complaint

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
1

Complaint

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER

No Summons Issued

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
2

Magistrate Consent Forms

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
2

Magistrate Consent Forms

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER
2

Notice, Consent and Referral forms re: U.S. Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (sar) (Entered: 08/06/2015)

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER

Case Assigned/Reassigned

Aug. 12, 2015

Aug. 12, 2015

PACER

Case Assigned/Reassigned

Aug. 12, 2015

Aug. 12, 2015

PACER

No Summons Issued. (sar)

Aug. 6, 2015

Aug. 6, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER

Case Assigned/Reassigned

Aug. 12, 2015

Aug. 12, 2015

PACER
3

Stipulation to EXTEND Time

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER
3

Stipulation to EXTEND Time

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER

Case Assigned to Judge Gregory M. Sleet. Please include the initials of the Judge (GMS) after the case number on all documents filed. (rjb)

Aug. 12, 2015

Aug. 12, 2015

PACER
4

Order

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER
4

Order

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER
3

STIPULATION TO EXTEND TIME to Answer, Move, or Otherwise Respond to the Complaint to October 1, 2015 - filed by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 08/13/2015)

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER
5

Status Report

1 Scheduling Order

View on PACER

Sept. 14, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015

PACER
5

Status Report

1 Scheduling Order

View on PACER

Sept. 14, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED, re 3 STIPULATION TO EXTEND TIME to Answer, Move, or Otherwise Respond to the Complaint to October 1, 2015 filed by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., Set/Reset Answer Deadlines: Robert M. Coupe answer due 10/1/2015. Ordered by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 8/13/2015. (asw)

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER

Oral Order

Sept. 15, 2015

Sept. 15, 2015

PACER

Oral Order

Sept. 15, 2015

Sept. 15, 2015

PACER
6

Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Subject Jurisdiction

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP
4

ORDER REGARDING CASE MANAGEMENT IN CIVIL CASES. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 8/13/2015. (asw) (Entered: 08/13/2015)

Aug. 13, 2015

Aug. 13, 2015

PACER
6

Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Subject Jurisdiction

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP
5

(Stricken by Oral Order) Joint STATUS REPORT by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Scheduling Order)(Levine, James Harry) Modified on 9/15/2015 (mdb). (Entered: 09/14/2015)

1 Scheduling Order

View on PACER

Sept. 14, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015

PACER
7

Opening Brief in Support

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP
7

Opening Brief in Support

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP

Oral Order

Sept. 15, 2015

Sept. 15, 2015

PACER
8

Stipulation

Oct. 14, 2015

Oct. 14, 2015

PACER
8

Stipulation

Oct. 14, 2015

Oct. 14, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER

ORAL ORDER - re 5 Joint Status Report: The Joint Status Report is STRICKEN from the record and will not be considered by the Court. The parties shall re-file a Joint Status Report AFTER at least one defendant has responded to the complaint, pursuant to the Case Management Order (DI 4 ). The docket reflects that the sole defendant has not responded to the complaint as of the date of this Order. Ordered by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 9/15/2015. (mdb)

Sept. 15, 2015

Sept. 15, 2015

PACER
6

MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter, MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim - filed by Robert M. Coupe. (Handlon, Joseph) (Entered: 10/01/2015)

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP
9

Status Report

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
9

Status Report

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
10

Proposed Order

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
7

OPENING BRIEF in Support re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Robert M. Coupe.Answering Brief/Response due date per Local Rules is 10/19/2015. (Handlon, Joseph) (Entered: 10/01/2015)

Oct. 1, 2015

Oct. 1, 2015

RECAP
10

Proposed Order

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
11

Answering Brief in Opposition

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

RECAP
8

STIPULATION - Briefing Stipuation on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 10/14/2015)

Oct. 14, 2015

Oct. 14, 2015

PACER
11

Answering Brief in Opposition

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

RECAP
12

Declaration

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

PACER
12

Declaration

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER

CORRECTING ENTRY:

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED - re 8 Stipulation Briefing Schedule. Set Briefing Schedule: re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter, MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim . (Answering Brief due 10/21/2015., Reply Brief due 11/2/2015.). Ordered by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 10/16/2015. (mdb)

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER

CORRECTING ENTRY:

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

PACER
9

Joint STATUS REPORT by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 10/16/2015)

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
13

Reply Brief

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

RECAP
13

Reply Brief

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

RECAP
10

PROPOSED Scheduling Order by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Levine, James Harry) Modified on 11/2/2015 (mdb). (Entered: 10/16/2015)

Oct. 16, 2015

Oct. 16, 2015

PACER
14

Notice (Other)

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Nov. 11, 2015

Nov. 11, 2015

PACER
14

Notice (Other)

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Nov. 11, 2015

Nov. 11, 2015

PACER

Oral Order

Nov. 16, 2015

Nov. 16, 2015

PACER

Oral Order

Nov. 16, 2015

Nov. 16, 2015

PACER
11

ANSWERING BRIEF in Opposition re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc..Reply Brief due date per Local Rules is 11/2/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 10/21/2015)

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

RECAP
15

Proposed Order

Nov. 19, 2015

Nov. 19, 2015

PACER
15

Proposed Order

Nov. 19, 2015

Nov. 19, 2015

PACER
12

DECLARATION re 11 Answering Brief in Opposition, /Declaration of Daniel G. Atkins by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Certificate of Service)(Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 10/21/2015)

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Nov. 20, 2015

Nov. 20, 2015

PACER
13

REPLY BRIEF re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Robert M. Coupe. (Handlon, Joseph) (Entered: 11/02/2015)

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

RECAP

SO ORDERED

Nov. 20, 2015

Nov. 20, 2015

PACER

Case Referred to Mediation

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

PACER

Case Referred to Mediation

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

PACER

CORRECTING ENTRY:

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

PACER
16

Order Setting Teleconference

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

RECAP
16

Order Setting Teleconference

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

RECAP

CORRECTING ENTRY: The Proposed Scheduling Order (DI 10 ) has been replaced per request from counsel. (mdb)

Nov. 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015

PACER
17

Notice of Service

Nov. 24, 2015

Nov. 24, 2015

PACER
14

NOTICE of Subsequent Authority in Support of Answering Brief in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ( 11 ) by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Levine, James Harry) Modified on 11/12/2015 (mdb). (Entered: 11/11/2015)

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Nov. 11, 2015

Nov. 11, 2015

PACER
17

Notice of Service

Nov. 24, 2015

Nov. 24, 2015

PACER
18

Notice of Service

Dec. 1, 2015

Dec. 1, 2015

PACER

Oral Order

Nov. 16, 2015

Nov. 16, 2015

PACER
18

Notice of Service

Dec. 1, 2015

Dec. 1, 2015

PACER

ORAL ORDER re 9 Joint Status Report - The parties' proposed schedule is ADOPTED, with the following additions: The Proposed Final Pretrial Order is due by the close of business on 10/24/2016, the Final Pretrial Conference is set for 12/21/2016 at 10:00 AM via telephone, and a 5-day Bench Trial is set for 1/2/2017 at 9:00 AM in Courtroom 4A. Case is referred to the Magistrate Judge for exploring ADR. The plaintiff shall file an amended proposed scheduling order that includes the additions above by 11/23/2015. Ordered by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 11/16/2015. (mdb)

Nov. 16, 2015

Nov. 16, 2015

PACER
19

Stipulation

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER
19

Stipulation

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER
15

PROPOSED ORDER Scheduling Order by Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.. (Levine, James Harry) (Entered: 11/19/2015)

Nov. 19, 2015

Nov. 19, 2015

PACER
20

Notice of Service

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER
20

Notice of Service

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER
21

Notice of Service

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER
21

Notice of Service

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

PACER

SO ORDERED

Nov. 20, 2015

Nov. 20, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED - re 15 Proposed Scheduling Order. Case referred to the Magistrate Judge for the purpose of exploring ADR. Joinder of Parties due by 2/29/2016., Amended Pleadings due by 2/29/2016., Discovery due by 6/3/2016., Fact Discovery completed by 4/18/2016., Opening Expert Reports due by 4/18/2016., Rebuttal Expert Reports due by 5/18/2016., Expert Discovery due by 6/3/2016., Dispositive Motions due by 7/22/2016., Proposed Pretrial Order due by 10/24/2016., A Final Pretrial Conference is set for 12/21/2016 at 10:00 AM via telephone., A 5-day Bench Trial is set for 1/2/2017 at 9:00 AM. Ordered by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 11/20/2015. (mdb)

Nov. 20, 2015

Nov. 20, 2015

PACER

SO ORDERED

Jan. 8, 2016

Jan. 8, 2016

PACER

SO ORDERED

Jan. 8, 2016

Jan. 8, 2016

PACER
22

Order Setting Mediation Conferences

Jan. 14, 2016

Jan. 14, 2016

PACER

Case Referred to Mediation

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

PACER
22

Order Setting Mediation Conferences

Jan. 14, 2016

Jan. 14, 2016

PACER
23

Notice of Service

Feb. 3, 2016

Feb. 3, 2016

PACER
23

Notice of Service

Feb. 3, 2016

Feb. 3, 2016

PACER

CASE REFERRED to Judge Thynge for Mediation. (cak)

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

PACER
16

ORDER Setting Teleconference: Plaintiff's counsel to initiate the call. A Telephone Conference is set for 1/13/2016 at 8:30 AM EASTERN TIME before Judge Mary Pat Thynge to discuss ADR. Signed by Judge Mary Pat Thynge on 11/23/15. (cak) (Entered: 11/23/2015)

Nov. 23, 2015

Nov. 23, 2015

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Delaware

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Solitary confinement

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 6, 2015

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (“CLASI”) is a non-profit Delaware corporation that represents indigent clients. CLASI has been designated, by the State of Delaware, as the organization with responsibility to protect and advocate for the rights of people with mental illness.

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

Delaware Department of Correction, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10801

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2016 - None

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Reporting

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Confinement/isolation

Recreation / Exercise

Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)

Totality of conditions

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Self-injurious behaviors

Suicide prevention

Untreated pain

Type of Facility:

Government-run