Case: Seitz v. Allegheny County

2:16-cv-01879 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Dec. 19, 2016

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 19, 2016, five pregnant women in Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) brought this suit against Allegheny County and jail officers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Suing under § 1983, they alleged violations of their Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and their Fourteenth Amendment right to notice and opportunity to be heard via the Due Process Clause. Represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Institutiona…

On December 19, 2016, five pregnant women in Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) brought this suit against Allegheny County and jail officers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Suing under § 1983, they alleged violations of their Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and their Fourteenth Amendment right to notice and opportunity to be heard via the Due Process Clause. Represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, the Abolitionist Law Center, and private counsel, the plaintiffs requested declaratory and injunctive relief, equitable damages, and attorneys' fees and costs.

These plaintiffs alleged that they were subject to solitary confinement for up to 24 hours per day for minor rule infractions. For example, one plaintiff was subjected to solitary confinement because she had three pairs of shoes when she was only allowed two. While in solitary confinement, the plaintiffs alleged that they were not given an opportunity to shower or exercise, and that they were not allowed any recreational materials such as books, papers, pens, or magazines. Finally, the amount of time spent in solitary confinement ranged from six to twenty-two days. The plaintiffs also alleged that they were not receiving the proper pre-natal nutrition. The plaintiffs stated that because of the lack of nutrition, they were forced to supplement meals with food purchased from the commissary and, moreover, feared for the health of their fetuses. the plaintiffs explained that this was especially problematic for those inmates. This concern was especially problematic for pregnant women placed in solitary confinement.

On February 14, 2017 the plaintiffs sought class certification on behalf of all women at ACJ now, and in the future, who were pregnant or post partum. The suit was referred to a magistrate for mediation on May 15, 2017. That mediation was scheduled for July 7, 2017.

On November 8, 2017 the parties reached a settlement. The agreement stipulated that for three years, Allegheny County jail would provide plaintiffs' counsel with a list of pregnant women detained or incarcerated upon plaintiffs' counsel's request. Additionally, the Allegheny County jail would provide plaintiffs' counsel with quarterly discovery: copies of documents related to the placement of any pregnant women in restrictive housing, and the total number of misconducts and informal resolutions issued to pregnant women resulting in loss of privileges.

Additionally, the agreement stipulated that Allegheny County jail would adopt a new policy that would require the jail to provide counseling, health assessments, and adequate nutrition and supplements to pregnant women, women post partum, and lactating women in the jail. The new policy required that pregnant women be seen by a qualified healthcare professional at least once per month, and that medical care will be provided regardless of the woman's disciplinary status. The new policy also required that women who qualify receive the pregnant/nursing diet regardless of where they are housed in the jail. The new policy further required that pregnant women receive the opportunity to exercise for at least two hours per day and that women be given access to showers and hygiene supplies.

The case was voluntarily dismissed as a result of the settlement agreement on November 15, 2017. The court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement until November 2020.

Summary Authors

Cianan Lesley (2/24/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7110239/parties/seitz-v-allegheny-county/


Judge(s)

Eddy, Cynthia Reed (Pennsylvania)

Lenihan, Lisa Pupo (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fawcett, David B. (Pennsylvania)

Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania)

Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)

Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania)

Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)

Williams, Aleksandra V (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bacharach, John A. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Eddy, Cynthia Reed (Pennsylvania)

Lenihan, Lisa Pupo (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fawcett, David B. (Pennsylvania)

Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania)

Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)

Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania)

Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)

Williams, Aleksandra V (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bacharach, John A. (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Nov. 15, 2017 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

Seitz, Tuzlic, Depasse, Hendricks, and Day v. Allegheny County

Dec. 19, 2016 Complaint
43

Stipulated Order of Dismissal & Settlement Agreement Between Plaintiffs and Allegheny County

Nov. 9, 2017 Settlement Agreement
46

Stipulated Order of Dismissal

Nov. 15, 2017 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7110239/seitz-v-allegheny-county/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link

Summons Issued

Dec. 19, 2016 PACER
1

Complaint

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Exhibit A

View on PACER

3 Summons Allegheny County

View on PACER

4 Summons Orlando Harper

View on PACER

5 Summons Simon Wainwright

View on PACER

6 Summons Monica Long

View on PACER

7 Summons Jesse Andrasckik

View on PACER

Dec. 19, 2016 PACER
2

Waiver of Service Executed

Dec. 28, 2016 PACER
3

Waiver of Service Executed

Dec. 28, 2016 PACER
4

Waiver of Service Executed

Dec. 28, 2016 PACER
5

Waiver of Service Executed

Dec. 28, 2016 PACER
6

Waiver of Service Executed

Dec. 28, 2016 PACER
7

Notice of Appearance

Jan. 11, 2017 PACER
8

Motion to Certify Class

1 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Feb. 14, 2017 PACER
9

Brief in Support of Motion

Feb. 14, 2017 PACER
10

Order

Feb. 15, 2017 PACER
11

Order

Feb. 15, 2017 PACER
12

Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer

1 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Feb. 15, 2017 PACER
13

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer

Feb. 16, 2017 PACER
14

Consent to Trial/Jurisdiction by US Magistrate Judge OR District Judge Option

Feb. 22, 2017 PACER
15

Consent to Trial/Jurisdiction by US Magistrate Judge OR District Judge Option

Feb. 22, 2017 PACER
16

Order

Feb. 22, 2017 PACER
17

Status Conference

Feb. 23, 2017 PACER
18

Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

March 14, 2017 PACER
19

Proposed Order

March 14, 2017 PACER
20

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

March 15, 2017 PACER
21

Order

March 30, 2017 PACER
22

Status Conference

April 10, 2017 PACER
23

Report of Rule 26(f) Planning Meeting

May 9, 2017 PACER
24

Status Conference

May 12, 2017 PACER
25

Order on Motion to Certify Class

May 12, 2017 PACER
26

Case Management Order

May 12, 2017 PACER
27

Order Referring Case to Magistrate Judge

May 15, 2017 PACER
28

Order

June 9, 2017 PACER
29

Telephone Conference

July 5, 2017 PACER
30

Settlement Conference

July 10, 2017 PACER
31

Order

July 26, 2017 PACER
32

Settlement Conference

July 26, 2017 PACER
33

Order

July 27, 2017 PACER
34

Telephone Conference

Aug. 4, 2017 PACER
35

Settlement Conference

Aug. 23, 2017 PACER
36

Order

Aug. 24, 2017 PACER
37

Motion to Continue

1 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Aug. 25, 2017 PACER
38

Order on Motion to Continue

Aug. 28, 2017 PACER
39

Status Conference

Aug. 29, 2017 PACER
40

Order to Vacate Document

Aug. 29, 2017 PACER
41

Status Report

Oct. 3, 2017 PACER

Add and Terminate Judges

Oct. 6, 2017 PACER
42

Consent Decree

Nov. 8, 2017 PACER
44

Stipulated Protective Order

Nov. 8, 2017 PACER

Quality Control message - Wrong event selected

Nov. 9, 2017 PACER
43

Stipulation of Dismissal

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Nov. 9, 2017 PACER
45

Order

Nov. 15, 2017 PACER
46

Order Dismissing Case

Nov. 15, 2017 PACER

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Solitary confinement

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 19, 2016

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Five pregnant women at Allegheny County Jail who were subject to solitary confinement conditions and allegedly poor nutrition.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

Allegheny County, County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

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

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

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $90,000

Order Duration: 2017 - 2020

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Required disclosure

Issues

General:

Bathing and hygiene

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary procedures

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Grievance Procedures

Recreation / Exercise

Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)

Affected Gender:

Female

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run