Case: Dittimus-Bey v. Taylor

1:05-cv-00063 | U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

Filed Date: Jan. 6, 2005

Closed Date: June 30, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

After eleven years of litigation and five failed consent decrees, Camden County, New Jersey corrections officials have finally agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a federal civil rights suit that alleged severe overcrowding, sanitation, poor nutrition, and environmental violations of prisoners’ rights. On January 6, 2005, plaintiffs filed pro se action alleging that severe overcrowding at the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) has caused serious deprivations of their health and safety in…

After eleven years of litigation and five failed consent decrees, Camden County, New Jersey corrections officials have finally agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a federal civil rights suit that alleged severe overcrowding, sanitation, poor nutrition, and environmental violations of prisoners’ rights.

On January 6, 2005, plaintiffs filed pro se action alleging that severe overcrowding at the Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) has caused serious deprivations of their health and safety in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 2005 WL 6022128. CCCF housed inmates awaiting trial or sentenced to less than one year in prison. The complaint sought court-ordered improvements for the CCCF, rather than monetary awards for all inmates.

Magistrate Judge Rosen appointed pro bono counsel for the plaintiffs, and upon the appointment of counsel, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that CCCF was constructed in 1988 and designed to house 1,267 prisoners. By March 2004, the population exceeded 1,800 prisoners and at other points, exceeded 2,000 prisoners, which resulted in an extremely overpopulated and understaffed facility which creating an unsafe, unhealthy, and unsanitary environment for people incarcerated therein. 2005 WL 6022128.

On July 31, 2007, the court granted the defendants' motion for class certification, certifying a class of all individuals incarcerated at CCCF from the inception of the lawsuit to January 6, 2005, including pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. 2005 WL 6022128.

In January 2009, the parties entered into a consent decree (“First Consent Decree”) which authorized the retention of a criminal justice planning firm, which provided a number of recommendations for the improvement of conditions at CCCF. Chief among those conditions was the creation by the County of a “Jail Population Manager.” This manager would be responsible for monitoring, coordinating, and ensuring the efficient processing of the jail population and would serve as a liaison to the Superior Court of New Jersey, the municipal courts, the prosecutor, the defense bar, and other community corrections programs. 2005 WL 6022128.

In August 2009, the parties entered into another consent decree (“Second Consent Decree”) which the court approved. The Second Consent Decree authorized the implementation of many of the criminal justice planning firm’s recommendations. In April 2011, the parties entered into another consent decree (“Third Consent Decree”). At that time, a full-time jail population manager was hired. Subsequently, the court awarded attorneys' fees on October 5, 2009. 2005 WL 6022128.

Ultimately, on June 30, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Simandle approved a final consent decree. The final consent decree created a system whereby population levels at the CCCF will be maintained at lower levels, more efficient jail-management practices instituted, and conditions of confinement substantially improved.

Under the terms of the consent decree, in addition to improvements at CCCF, attorneys representing the prisoners received $155,000 in legal fees, two of the four named plaintiffs were each paid $1,500 and the other two were paid $1,000 each. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Rebecca Fisher (3/26/2021)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5731919/parties/dittimus-bey-v-taylor/


Judge(s)

Schneider, Joel (New Jersey)

Simandle, Jerome B. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acchione, Nicole M (New Jersey)

Rodriguez, Lisa J (New Jersey)

Santillo, R. Andrew (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Goldberg, Howard Lane (New Jersey)

Kemble, Thomas E. (New Jersey)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Schneider, Joel (New Jersey)

Simandle, Jerome B. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acchione, Nicole M (New Jersey)

Rodriguez, Lisa J (New Jersey)

Santillo, R. Andrew (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Goldberg, Howard Lane (New Jersey)

Kemble, Thomas E. (New Jersey)

Other Attorney(s)

Johnson-Stokes, Barbara Ann (New Jersey)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:05-cv-00063

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 15, 2017

Sept. 15, 2017

Docket
1

1:05-cv-00063

Complaint

Jan. 6, 2005

Jan. 6, 2005

Complaint
60

1:05-cv-00063

Amended Complaint

Dittimus-Bey v. Camden County Correctional Facility

March 31, 2006

March 31, 2006

Complaint
90

1:05-cv-00063

Order Approving Interim Consent Decree and Staying Litigation for a Period of 120 Days

Dittimus-Bey v. Camden County Correctional Facility

Jan. 22, 2008

Jan. 22, 2008

Order/Opinion
211

1:05-cv-00063

Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Sixth and Final Consent Decree

Dittimus-Bey v. Camden County Correctional Facility

Feb. 22, 2017

Feb. 22, 2017

Order/Opinion
215, 215-1 - 215-3

1:05-cv-00063

Motion for Final Approval of Amended Final Consent Decree

Dittimus-Bey v. Camden County Correctional Facility

May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5731919/dittimus-bey-v-taylor/

Last updated Aug. 7, 2022, 3:15 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
80

OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 7/31/07. (gn, )

July 31, 2007

July 31, 2007

RECAP
155

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 11/12/2013. (drw)

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

RECAP
156

ORDER lifting the seal on Pltfs' 151 submission re. the County personnel decision. The continuation of Lisa M. Rodriguez as Class Counsel is consistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct and the obligations of adequate class counsel under Rule 23(g), Fed. R. Civ. P. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 11/12/2013. (drw)

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: New Jersey

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 6, 2005

Closing Date: June 30, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All individuals incarcerated at CCCF from the inception of the lawsuit to January 6, 2005, including pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Camden County Correctional Facility Warden and Deputy Warden (Camden), State

Camden County Department of Corrections (Camden), County

Camden County (Camden), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

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

Amount Defendant Pays: $160,000

Content of Injunction:

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Bathing and hygiene

Conditions of confinement

Fire safety

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Post-PLRA Population Cap

Type of Facility:

Government-run