Case: Lozeau v. Lake County

9:95-cv-00082 | U.S. District Court for the District of Montana

Filed Date: June 30, 1995

Closed Date: 2000

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 30, 1995, five inmates at the Lake County Jail in Polson, Montana, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against representatives of the county in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding, poor maintenance of physical facilities, understaffing, poor classification pro…

On June 30, 1995, five inmates at the Lake County Jail in Polson, Montana, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against representatives of the county in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding, poor maintenance of physical facilities, understaffing, poor classification procedures, failure to protect, inadequate religious exercise, lack of exercise, inadequate recreation, inadequate medical care, and inadequate dental care.

On October 24, 1996, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana (Judge Charles C. Lovell) entered a consent decree, which dealt with the areas of overcrowding, single celling, staffing, exercise, recreation, clothing, laundry, bedding, sanitation, hygiene, lighting, heating, ventilation, noise, fire protection, inmate security, classification, visitation, mail, telephone privileges, religious exercise, law library access, food services, medical care, and dental care. The court then dismissed the case.

On October 30, 1997, the plaintiffs asked the district court to hold the defendants in contempt for failure to comply with the terms of the consent decree. The defendants acknowledged that they had failed to comply with a number of the decree's requirements, and they agreed to fix those problems. On April 27, 1999, the plaintiffs again asked the district court to hold the defendants in contempt for failure to comply with the consent decree in the areas of staffing, medical record keeping, lighting, plumbing, and fire safety.

Upon improvements in these areas, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the contempt actions. On December 16, 1999, the parties also dismissed the underlying consent decree, executing a private settlement agreement in its stead. The plaintiffs asked the district court to award them attorneys fees, and on April 4, 2000, the district court (Magistrate Judge Richard F. Cebull) awarded the requested fees to the plaintiffs. Lozeau v. Lake County, Montana, 98 F.Supp.2d 1157 (D.Mont. 2000).

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (10/7/2006)

Jessica Kincaid (7/14/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Cebull, Richard F. (Montana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Alterowitz, Michael G. (Montana)

Connell, Mark S. (Montana)

Pevar, Stephen L. (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Christopher, Deborah Kim (Montana)

Long, Robert J. (Montana)

Sheridan, Robert E. (Montana)

Judge(s)

Cebull, Richard F. (Montana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Alterowitz, Michael G. (Montana)

Connell, Mark S. (Montana)

Pevar, Stephen L. (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Christopher, Deborah Kim (Montana)

Long, Robert J. (Montana)

Sheridan, Robert E. (Montana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

May 11, 2000 Docket

Press Release -- ACLU Challenges County Jail Conditions

No Court

July 1, 1995 Press Release
36

Consent Decree Order and Judgment

Oct. 23, 1996 Order/Opinion
111

Order

98 F.Supp.2d 1157

April 4, 2000 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies for Preserving the Role of the Courts

Margo Schlanger

This Article is part of the University of Miami Law Review’s Leading from Below Symposium. It canvasses prisoners’ lawyers’ strategies prompted by the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). The … Dec. 1, 2015 http://lawreview.law.miami.edu/prisoners-rights-lawyers-strategies-preserving-role-courts/

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Montana

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 30, 1995

Closing Date: 2000

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Inmates at the Lake County Jail in Polson, Montana

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Lake County (Polson, Lake), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

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: 1996 - 1999

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Bathing and hygiene

Classification / placement

Fire safety

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Law library access

Mail

Phone

Recreation / Exercise

Religious programs / policies

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Visiting

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Medical/Mental Health:

Dental care

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run