Case: T.M. v. City of Philadelphia

2:89-cv-04630 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: May 23, 1989

Closed Date: 1996

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Five children, represented by attorneys from the Juvenile Law Center and the ACLU of Philadelphia, filed this class action on May 23, 1989 seeking appointment of counsel for all children in Philadelphia County dependency proceedings. Filed under § 1983, the complaint noted that three quarters of children in dependency proceedings in the Juvenile Court of Philadelphia were not represented by counsel. The plaintiffs alleged that the right to counsel was guaranteed by state law and the U.S. Consti…

Five children, represented by attorneys from the Juvenile Law Center and the ACLU of Philadelphia, filed this class action on May 23, 1989 seeking appointment of counsel for all children in Philadelphia County dependency proceedings. Filed under § 1983, the complaint noted that three quarters of children in dependency proceedings in the Juvenile Court of Philadelphia were not represented by counsel. The plaintiffs alleged that the right to counsel was guaranteed by state law and the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. By failing to appoint counsel for all children for whom allegations of dependency had been made, the plaintiffs alleged that the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, Juvenile Branch violated the plaintiffs' due process rights. They filed this class action in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the City of Philadelphia, which was responsible for funding the Philadelphia County court system, and the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, Juvenile Branch, which had the specific duty to appoint counsel for children. The plaintiffs sought certification of a class of “all Philadelphia children currently, or in the future, denied counsel while parties to dependency proceedings,” as well as declaratory relief, preliminary and permanent injunctions ordering the appointment of counsel for the plaintiffs at every stage of dependency proceedings, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

This case predates PACER, so we have limited information on case proceedings and the final settlement. We presume that class certification was granted. According to a report complied by the Child Welfare League of America and the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, in April 1990, the parties reached a settlement. The settlement provided for phasing in of representation so that all Philadelphia children in dependency proceedings would have counsel by April 1996. As of January 1998, the defendants had achieved compliance. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Emily Kempa (3/12/2019)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Magdovitz, Samuel B. (Pennsylvania)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Magdovitz, Samuel B. (Pennsylvania)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

2:89-cv-04630

Complaint

T.M. v City of Philadelphia

June 29, 1989

June 29, 1989

Complaint

Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2022, 3:15 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 23, 1989

Closing Date: 1996

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Five Philadelphia children on their own behalf and on behalf of all other children who have been or will be parties to Juvenile Court dependency proceedings and deprived of their right to counsel.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Juvenile Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia), City

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, Juvenile Branch (Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1990 - 1996

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Juveniles