Case: Victory v. Berks County

5:18-cv-05170 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Nov. 30, 2018

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

A woman incarcerated at Pennsylvania’s Berks County Jail filed this lawsuit against the County and several county officials and jail officials. Her complaint, filed November 30, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleged that the jail violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against her on the basis of her sex: her “Trusty” security classification did not qualify her for lower-security housing in the off-site Comm…

A woman incarcerated at Pennsylvania’s Berks County Jail filed this lawsuit against the County and several county officials and jail officials. Her complaint, filed November 30, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleged that the jail violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against her on the basis of her sex: her “Trusty” security classification did not qualify her for lower-security housing in the off-site Community Reentry Center, but male inmates with the same security classification did qualify for such off-site housing, with increased freedom of movement, work-release privileges, and expanded educational opportunities. She sued on behalf of herself and others similarly situated. For the entire class, she sought declaratory judgment (under 28 U.S.C. §§2201-2202), as well as injunctive relief requiring the County to give female “Trusty” inmates housing, privileges, and programming comparable to those granted to their male counterparts. Individually, she alleged that jail officials had retaliated against her for filing grievances, and sought monetary damages. She was represented by the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project. The case was assigned to Judge Mark A. Kearney.

In December 2018, the plaintiff twice sought a preliminary injunction and was twice denied. On January 15, 2019, the court granted her third request for a preliminary injunction, 355 F. Supp. 3d 239 (E.D. Pa. 2019). Two days later, the Third Circuit stayed the injunction in part.

The First Amended Complaint, on January 17, joined as plaintiffs two other women incarcerated at the Berks County Jail, similarly unable to qualify for housing and privileges commensurate with their “Trusty” security classification. Together, the three plaintiffs moved for class certification, which the court denied.

In February 2019, the court dissolved the preliminary injunction of January 17; the lead plaintiff and one of her co-plaintiffs had been released from custody, and the third plaintiff had not properly exhausted administrative remedies. 2019 WL 653788.

On April 5, 2019, the court partially granted the County’s motion to dismiss. 2019 WL 1507769. Discovery could proceed on: injunctive relief to prohibit the disparate treatment; the lead plaintiff’s damage claims against the non-immune individual defendants; some of the lead plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claims; and the sex discrimination claim under the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court dismissed all other claims.

Two weeks later, the lead plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, replacing the original co-plaintiffs with two other women similarly incarcerated at the Jail. They moved for a preliminary injunction on April 24, and the injunction was granted on May 20. In the meantime, one of the new co-plaintiffs had, without explanation, dismissed all of her claims with prejudice. On June 3, the two remaining plaintiffs moved for class certification. The same day, the court denied the County's motion to stay all proceedings. 2019 WL 2368579.

The court granted class certification on July 8, 2019: “All current and future female inmates committed to the Berks County Jail System who have the Trusty custody-level classification but denied assignment to the Community Reentry Center (“CRC”) and denied access to the privileges and services available to men assigned to the CRC.” 2019 WL 2950171. The same day, the court granted partial summary judgment to the County. While the Fourteenth Amendment claim was allowed to proceed, all other claims were dismissed. Several individual defendants were also dismissed.

On July 11, 2019, the court held Berks County in civil contempt for failure to comply with the May 20 preliminary injunction. 2019 WL 3068991. The lead plaintiff was granted compensatory sanctions and attorneys fees. However, this contempt finding was later reversed by the Third Circuit, which found that the May 20 preliminary injunction had not included an explicit needs-narrowness-intrusiveness finding as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The injunction was thus invalid and could not be a basis for a contempt finding. Throughout the litigation, the County brought a total of 5 interlocutory appeals (Third Circuit docket numbers 19-01329, 19-02193, 19-02648, 19-02695, and 19-03060). Only the appeals regarding the May 20 preliminary injunction and the July 11 contempt order were successful.

On October 17, 2019, the court granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs. 2019 WL 5266147. The court found that "Berks County violated [the plaintiffs'] rights when it discriminated against them in disparate treatment as to freedom of mobility, access to privileges, and visitation on the basis of their sex in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution." However, there remained questions of material fact as to whether the County provided equal access to furloughs for female "Trusty" inmates. This question, along with the question of a permanent injunction and the lead plaintiff’s individual damages, would be decided at trial.

The week before the trial, the County announced that the Community Reentry Center had been closed and that all male inmates had been returned to the jail proper.

The 3-phase trial was held from Tuesday, November 12 through Friday, November 15, 2019. In the first phase, the jury found that Berks County had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by providing the plaintiffs less access to furloughs than their male counterparts. In the second phase, the jury found that the County’s violation of the Equal Protection Clause had caused the plaintiff emotional pain, and awarded the lead plaintiff $2,800 in damages. The third and final phase was tried without jury; the court ordered a permanent injunction against the County. 2020 WL 236911. {DID IT INCLUDE PLRA FINDINGS?} The court entered judgment on April 7, 2020, and ordered the County to pay approximately $510,000 in costs and attorneys’ fees. 2020 WL 1694600.

As of June 15, 2020, no appeal had been filed.

Summary Authors

Gregory Marsh (6/15/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8365639/parties/victory-v-berks-county/


Judge(s)

Heffley, Marilyn (Pennsylvania)

Kearney, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davy, James (Pennsylvania)

Feldman, Matthew A (Pennsylvania)

Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania)

Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)

Sachse, Will W. (Pennsylvania)

Ward, Cory A. (Pennsylvania)

Yeh, Su Ming (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Connell, Matthew J. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Heffley, Marilyn (Pennsylvania)

Kearney, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davy, James (Pennsylvania)

Feldman, Matthew A (Pennsylvania)

Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania)

Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)

Sachse, Will W. (Pennsylvania)

Ward, Cory A. (Pennsylvania)

Yeh, Su Ming (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Connell, Matthew J. (Pennsylvania)

Fiore, Laurie Ann (Pennsylvania)

Ryan, Samantha (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

5:18-cv-05170

Docket

April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Docket
1

5:18-cv-05170

Complaint - Class Action

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

Complaint
39

5:18-cv-05170

Order

Jan. 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019

Order/Opinion
38

5:18-cv-05170

Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law

355 F.Supp.3d 239

Jan. 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019

Order/Opinion
61

5:18-cv-05170

Order

Jan. 25, 2019

Jan. 25, 2019

Order/Opinion
92

5:18-cv-05170

Memorandum

2019 WL 653788

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

Order/Opinion
108

5:18-cv-05170

Memorandum

2019 WL 1507769

April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019

Order/Opinion
114

5:18-cv-05170

Second Amended Complaint

April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019

Complaint
135

5:18-cv-05170

Order

May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019

Order/Opinion
134

5:18-cv-05170

Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law

May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8365639/victory-v-berks-county/

Last updated Aug. 28, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint

1 CASE FORMS

View on PACER

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

PACER

Summons Issued

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

PACER
2

Motion to Certify Class

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

PACER

Jury Demand

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

PACER
3

Order on Motion to Certify Class

Dec. 6, 2018

Dec. 6, 2018

PACER
4

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Dec. 7, 2018

Dec. 7, 2018

PACER
5

Memorandum

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Dec. 7, 2018

Dec. 7, 2018

PACER
6

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Dec. 7, 2018

Dec. 7, 2018

PACER
7

Affidavit of Service

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
8

Exparte

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

2 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
9

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

2 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
10

Memorandum

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
11

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
12

Order

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
13

Memorandum

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Dec. 13, 2018

Dec. 13, 2018

PACER
14

Notice of Appearance

Dec. 14, 2018

Dec. 14, 2018

PACER
15

Telephone Conference

Dec. 17, 2018

Dec. 17, 2018

PACER
16

Order

Dec. 17, 2018

Dec. 17, 2018

PACER
17

Order

Dec. 19, 2018

Dec. 19, 2018

PACER
18

Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Dec. 27, 2018

Dec. 27, 2018

PACER
19

Order on Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Dec. 27, 2018

Dec. 27, 2018

PACER
20

Response in Opposition to Motion

Dec. 28, 2018

Dec. 28, 2018

PACER
21

Memorandum

Dec. 28, 2018

Dec. 28, 2018

PACER
22

Certificate of Service

Dec. 28, 2018

Dec. 28, 2018

PACER
23

Motion to Dismiss

Dec. 31, 2018

Dec. 31, 2018

PACER
24

Memorandum

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Dec. 31, 2018

Dec. 31, 2018

PACER
25

Motion to Continue

Jan. 3, 2019

Jan. 3, 2019

PACER
26

Reply to Response to Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 3, 2019

Jan. 3, 2019

PACER
27

Order on Motion to Continue

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
28

Pretrial Memorandum

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
29

Memorandum

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
30

Telephone Conference

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
31

Order

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
32

Order

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER
33

Motion in Limine

Jan. 7, 2019

Jan. 7, 2019

PACER
34

Response in Opposition to Motion

Jan. 8, 2019

Jan. 8, 2019

PACER
35

Order on Motion in Limine

Jan. 8, 2019

Jan. 8, 2019

PACER
36

Notice of Appearance

Jan. 9, 2019

Jan. 9, 2019

PACER
37

Response in Opposition to Motion

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 14, 2019

Jan. 14, 2019

PACER
38

FINDINGS OF FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 1/15/19. 1/16/19 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLAINTIFF AND E-MAILED. (jpd)

Jan. 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019

RECAP
39

Order (Memorandum and/or Opinion)

Jan. 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019

PACER
40

Motion Hearing

Jan. 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019

PACER
41

Motion for Reconsideration

Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

PACER

Deposit of Funds

Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

PACER
42

Memorandum

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

4 Exhibit

View on PACER

5 Exhibit

View on PACER

6 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

PACER
43

Motion to Seal Document

1 Brief

View on PACER

Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

PACER
44

Motion to Stay

1 Brief

View on PACER

Jan. 16, 2019

Jan. 16, 2019

PACER
45

Response to Motion

Jan. 17, 2019

Jan. 17, 2019

PACER

Set Motion and R&R Deadlines/Hearings

Jan. 17, 2019

Jan. 17, 2019

PACER
46

Telephone Conference

Jan. 17, 2019

Jan. 17, 2019

PACER
47

Amended Complaint

Jan. 17, 2019

Jan. 17, 2019

PACER
48

Order on Motion to Seal Document

Jan. 17, 2019

Jan. 17, 2019

PACER
49

Motion to Certify Class

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER

Set Motion and R&R Deadlines/Hearings

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
50

Memorandum

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
51

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
52

Order on Motion to Certify Class

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
53

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
54

Memorandum

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
55

Order

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
56

Response in Opposition to Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
57

Order

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
58

Order

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
59

Order

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
60

Motion Hearing

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER
61

Order on Motion for Reconsideration

Jan. 25, 2019

Jan. 25, 2019

PACER
62

Order

Jan. 25, 2019

Jan. 25, 2019

PACER
63

Motion for Relief Under 60B

Jan. 28, 2019

Jan. 28, 2019

PACER
64

Affidavit in Support

Jan. 28, 2019

Jan. 28, 2019

PACER
65

Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Jan. 29, 2019

Jan. 29, 2019

PACER
66

Order on Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Jan. 29, 2019

Jan. 29, 2019

PACER
67

Response in Opposition to Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Jan. 31, 2019

Jan. 31, 2019

PACER
68

Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

2 Memorandum

View on PACER

3 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Jan. 31, 2019

Jan. 31, 2019

PACER
69

Response in Opposition to Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

Feb. 4, 2019

Feb. 4, 2019

PACER
70

Pretrial Memorandum

Feb. 5, 2019

Feb. 5, 2019

PACER
71

Pretrial Memorandum

Feb. 5, 2019

Feb. 5, 2019

PACER
72

Notice of Appeal

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
73

Amended Document

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
74

Reply to Response to Motion

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
75

Notice of Appeal

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
76

Motion in Limine

Feb. 7, 2019

Feb. 7, 2019

PACER
77

Motion in Limine

1 Memorandum

View on PACER

Feb. 7, 2019

Feb. 7, 2019

PACER
78

USCA Notice of Docketing ROA

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
79

Motion to Stay

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
80

Exhibit List

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
81

Response in Opposition to Motion

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
84

Order on Motion to Stay

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
85

USCA Order

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
82

Order on Motion in Limine

Feb. 11, 2019

Feb. 11, 2019

PACER
83

Order on Motion in Limine

Feb. 11, 2019

Feb. 11, 2019

PACER
86

Certified Copy of Order

Feb. 11, 2019

Feb. 11, 2019

PACER
87

Motion Hearing

Feb. 11, 2019

Feb. 11, 2019

PACER

USCA Appeal Fees

Feb. 12, 2019

Feb. 12, 2019

PACER
88

Transcript - RESTRICTED

Feb. 13, 2019

Feb. 13, 2019

PACER
89

Response in Opposition to Motion

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

2 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

3 Exhibit

View on PACER

Feb. 14, 2019

Feb. 14, 2019

PACER
90

Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

PACER
91

Order on Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

PACER
92

MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 02/15/2019;. 02/15/2019 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(nd, )

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

RECAP
93

ORDER THAT PLAINTIFF SAMANTHA HUNTINGTON'S AND AMARA SANDERS' MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION (ECF DOC. NO. 53 ) IS DENIED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 02/15/2019;. 02/15/2019 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(nd)

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

RECAP
94

ORDER THAT THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION (ECF DOC. NO. 63 ) IS GRANTED; WE DISSOLVE THE JANUARY 15, 2019 MANDATORY INJUNCTION (ECF DOC. NO. 39 ), AS MODIFIED ON JANUARY 25, 2019 (ECF DOC. NO. 62 ) UPON THE DEFENDANTS AS IT RELATES TO THERESA VICTORY ; THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL RETURN THE JANUARY 16, 2019 INJUNCTION BOND TO PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL OF RECORD UPON THEIR APPEARNACE IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE ON OR AFTER FEBRUARY 19, 2019, ETC.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 02/15/2019;. 02/15/2019 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(nd, )

Feb. 15, 2019

Feb. 15, 2019

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 30, 2018

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The plaintiffs in this case are a class of women incarcerated in the Berks County (Pennsylvania) Jail. They are classified at the lowest security classification the jail system has, and are thus eligible for lower-security housing. Men housed in the jail system enjoy lower-security housing; however, the women do not.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Berks County (Reading, Berks), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

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

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Attorneys fees

Damages

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: $510,000

Order Duration: 2020 - None

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Preliminary relief denied

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Disparate Treatment

Work release or work assignments

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run