Case: Prison Legal News v. Mascara

2:13-cv-14481 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: Dec. 17, 2013

Closed Date: Dec. 17, 2014

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is about a challenge to a Florida jail’s policy which restricted the size dimensions of prisoners' mail. On December 17, 2013, Prison Legal News filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Kenneth J. Mascara in his official capacity as the Sheriff of St. Lucie County Jail. The plaintiffs, represented by Florida Justice Institute and the Human Rights Defense Center, alleged violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They sued under…

This case is about a challenge to a Florida jail’s policy which restricted the size dimensions of prisoners' mail. On December 17, 2013, Prison Legal News filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Kenneth J. Mascara in his official capacity as the Sheriff of St. Lucie County Jail. The plaintiffs, represented by Florida Justice Institute and the Human Rights Defense Center, alleged violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for damages, declaratory relief, and an injunction preventing the Sheriff from enforcing a policy at the jail that required all incoming mail sent to people in jail to be on 4.25x6" postcards. The case was assigned to Judge Jose E. Martinez and Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. 

Prison Legal News argued that the jail’s policy, as overseen and enforced by the Sheriff, unconstitutionally hindered its ability to send its monthly publications, sample issues, information packets, and books to prisoners. Plaintiffs made various attempts from February 2012 through June 2013 to mail these materials to specific prisoners, but the jail rejected and returned them to the plaintiffs for not being postcard-sized. Arguing that the defendant's actions of sending materials to inmates in the jail constituted core protected speech, the plaintiffs alleged that the refusal to deliver its materials pursuant to the postcard policy violated their rights of free speech, press, and association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them the opportunity to be heard or protest the decision each time the jail intercepted its materials. At the same time they filed the complaint, Prison Legal News also filed a motion for preliminary injunction against enforcement of the postcard policy.

The defendants voluntarily amended their mail policy during the course of litigation. Amended in January of 2014, the updated policy allowed prisoners "who want[ed] a publication not offered via the leisure library [to] receive approved publications directly form the publisher or authorized commercial distributor at the inmate's own expense, subject ot certain limitations and restrictions imposed to ensure the safety and security of the jail."

In April 2014, Magistrate Judge Lynch issued a Report and Recommendation that the preliminary injunction be granted in part “only insofar as the amended policy instituted by the Defendant during the pendency of this litigation shall remain in full force and effect during this litigation and that all correspondence including books, periodicals, magazines, and correspondence by envelope which is considered privileged between the Plaintiff and inmates shall be considered an exception to the postcard only policy.” Judge Martinez affirmed and adopted the recommendation.

Several months later, Magistrate Judge Lynch referred the case to mediation. Having resolved the injunctive portion of the case through the amended policy, the parties reached a settlement agreement on December 1, 2014 that indicated that the Sheriff would pay Prison Legal News $50,000 (inclusive of all costs and attorneys’ fees). Per the terms of the settlement agreement, the parties then filed a Joint Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice. On December 17, 2014, the court issued a final order dismissing the case with prejudice and retaining jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement. The court further denied all pending motions as moot and closed the case.

Summary Authors

Zoe Goldstein (2/21/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/13231344/parties/prison-legal-news-v-mascara/


Judge(s)

Lynch, Frank J. Jr. (Florida)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berg, Randall Challen Jr. (Florida)

Jack, Robert Erle (Florida)

Trevisani, Dante Pasquale (Florida)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Jisa, Adriana Mihaela (Florida)

Jolly, Bruce (Florida)

Judge(s)

Lynch, Frank J. Jr. (Florida)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berg, Randall Challen Jr. (Florida)

Jack, Robert Erle (Florida)

Trevisani, Dante Pasquale (Florida)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Jisa, Adriana Mihaela (Florida)

Jolly, Bruce (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:13-cv-14481

Docket [PACER]

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

Docket
1

2:13-cv-14481

Verified Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

Complaint
23

2:13-cv-14481

Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction

April 9, 2014

April 9, 2014

Magistrate Report/Recommendation
38

2:13-cv-14481

Order Adopting Magistrate Judge Lynch's Report and Recommendation

Sept. 8, 2014

Sept. 8, 2014

Order/Opinion

2:13-cv-14481

Settlement Agreement

Dec. 1, 2014

Dec. 1, 2014

Settlement Agreement
41

2:13-cv-14481

Final Order of Dismissal With Prejudice and Order Denying All Pending Motions as Moot

Dec. 17, 2014

Dec. 17, 2014

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/13231344/prison-legal-news-v-mascara/

Last updated July 24, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint pursuant to 42 USC 1983 against Kenneth J. Mascara. Filing fee $ 400.00 receipt number 113C-6317668, filed by Prison Legal News. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A-Standard Operating Procedure 810.00, # 2 Summon(s) Serving Kenneth J. Mascara, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet)(Berg, Randall) (Entered: 12/17/2013)

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

Clearinghouse
2

Judge Assignment to Judge Jose E. Martinez and Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr (vjk) (Entered: 12/17/2013)

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

PACER
3

Summons Issued as to Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. (vjk) (Entered: 12/17/2013)

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

PACER
4

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Prison Legal News. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Standard Operating Procedure 810.00, # 2 Exhibit 2 - PLN v. Fulton County Order, # 3 Exhibit 3 - PLN v. Berkeley County Consent Injunction, # 4 Exhibit 4 - Hamilton v. Hall Order Approving Consent Decree, # 5 Exhibit 5 - Martinez v. Maketa Order Approving Settlement, # 6 Exhibit 6 - Declaration of Michael A. Berg)(Trevisani, Dante) (Entered: 12/17/2013)

Dec. 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

PACER
5

Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 12/19/2013. (dq) (Entered: 12/19/2013)

Dec. 19, 2013

Dec. 19, 2013

PACER
6

Certificate of Interested Parties and Corporate Disclosure Statement by Prison Legal News identifying Corporate Parent Human Rights Defense Center for Prison Legal News (Berg, Randall) Modified text on 1/3/2014 (jua). (Entered: 01/03/2014)

Jan. 3, 2014

Jan. 3, 2014

PACER
7

SUMMONS (Affidavit) Returned Executed on 1 Complaint 42 USC 1983 or Bivens, with a 21 day response/answer filing deadline by Prison Legal News. Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida served on 12/30/2013, answer due 1/21/2014. (Berg, Randall) (Entered: 01/07/2014)

Jan. 7, 2014

Jan. 7, 2014

PACER
8

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Lance T Weber on behalf of Prison Legal News. Attorney Lance T Weber added to party Prison Legal News(pty:pla). (Weber, Lance) (Entered: 01/07/2014)

Jan. 7, 2014

Jan. 7, 2014

PACER
9

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Robert Erle Jack on behalf of Prison Legal News. Attorney Robert Erle Jack added to party Prison Legal News(pty:pla). (Jack, Robert) (Entered: 01/07/2014)

Jan. 7, 2014

Jan. 7, 2014

PACER
10

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Bruce Wallace Jolly on behalf of Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. Attorney Bruce Wallace Jolly added to party Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida(pty:dft). (Jolly, Bruce) (Entered: 01/21/2014)

Jan. 21, 2014

Jan. 21, 2014

PACER
11

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer RE: Complaints re 1 Complaint 42 USC 1983 or Bivens, by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. (Jolly, Bruce) (Entered: 01/21/2014)

Jan. 21, 2014

Jan. 21, 2014

PACER
12

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Adriana Mihaela Jisa on behalf of Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. Attorney Adriana Mihaela Jisa added to party Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida(pty:dft). (Jisa, Adriana) (Entered: 01/21/2014)

Jan. 21, 2014

Jan. 21, 2014

PACER
13

ANSWER and Affirmative Defenses to Complaint by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. (Jisa, Adriana) (Entered: 01/24/2014)

Jan. 24, 2014

Jan. 24, 2014

PACER
14

CERTIFICATE of Interested Persons and Corporate Disclosure Statement by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida (Jisa, Adriana) Modified text on 1/24/2014 (jua). (Entered: 01/24/2014)

Jan. 24, 2014

Jan. 24, 2014

PACER
15

Plaintiff's MOTION for Hearing re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Prison Legal News. (Berg, Randall) (Entered: 02/07/2014)

Feb. 7, 2014

Feb. 7, 2014

PACER
16

Paperless ORDER granting 11 Motion for Extension of Time. Defendant's Answer and Defenses (D.E. No. 13) are accepted as filed. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 2/10/2014. (tde) (Entered: 02/10/2014)

Feb. 10, 2014

Feb. 10, 2014

PACER
17

ORDER REFERRING 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News. Motions referred to Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 2/20/2014. (wh) (Entered: 02/20/2014)

Feb. 20, 2014

Feb. 20, 2014

PACER
18

ORDER Directing Defendant to File Response to 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for the Parties to File a Joint Notice; denying 15 Motion for a Prompt Hearing on Plaintiff's Motion For Preliminary Injunction. Defendant shall file his answer to the Motion For Preliminary lnjunction on or before 3/4/2014. The parties shall meet and confer in a good faith attempt to resolve the issues in this matter and file their joint notice on or before 3/4/2014. Signed by Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr on 2/21/2014. (jua) (Entered: 02/21/2014)

Feb. 21, 2014

Feb. 21, 2014

PACER

Set Deadlines as to 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction per DE 18 . Responses due by 3/4/2014 (jua)

Feb. 21, 2014

Feb. 21, 2014

PACER
19

RESPONSE in Opposition re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Jisa, Adriana) (Entered: 03/04/2014)

March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

PACER
20

JOINT NOTICE by Prison Legal News Confirming Conference as to Issues Remaining in Dispute (Trevisani, Dante) Modified text on 3/5/2014 (jua). (Entered: 03/04/2014)

March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

PACER
21

JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT - Rule 16.1 by Prison Legal News (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Joint Proposed Scheduling Order)(Berg, Randall) Modified text on 3/10/2014 (jua). (Entered: 03/07/2014)

March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014

PACER
22

REPLY to Response to Motion re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News. (Trevisani, Dante) (Entered: 03/13/2014)

March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014

PACER
23

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Granted in Part and Denied in Part. Objections to R&R due by 4/25/2014. Signed by Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr on 4/8/2014. (jua) (Entered: 04/09/2014)

April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

Clearinghouse
24

Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Objections to Report and Recommendations on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction re 23 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Granted in Part and Denied in Part. by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. Responses due by 5/5/2014 (Jolly, Bruce) (Entered: 04/18/2014)

April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014

PACER
25

Paperless ORDER granting 24 the parties' Joint Motion for Enlargement of Time. The parties may have up to and including May 5, 2014 to file objections to the Report and Recommendation (D.E. No. 23). Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 4/22/2014. (tde) (Entered: 04/22/2014)

April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

PACER
26

Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Objections to the Report and Recommendations (DE 23) re 23 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Granted in Part and Denied in Part. by Prison Legal News. Responses due by 5/19/2014 (Berg, Randall) (Entered: 05/02/2014)

May 2, 2014

May 2, 2014

PACER
27

NOTICE by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida re 23 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Granted in Part and Denied in Part. Objections (Jisa, Adriana) (Entered: 05/12/2014)

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

PACER
28

Plaintiff's OBJECTION of Magistrate Judge 23 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Granted in Part and Denied in Part. to District Court (Trevisani, Dante) (Entered: 05/12/2014)

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

PACER
29

OBJECTIONS to 23 Report and Recommendations by Sheriff of St. Lucie County, Florida. (See DE 27 for image) (jua) (Entered: 05/13/2014)

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

PACER
31

OBJECTIONS to 23 Report and Recommendations by Prison Legal News. (See DE 28 for image) (jua) (Entered: 05/13/2014)

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

PACER
30

Clerks Notice to Filer re 27 Notice (Other),. Wrong Event Selected; ERROR - The Filer selected the wrong event. The document was re-docketed by the Clerk, see [de#29]. It is not necessary to refile this document. (jua) (Entered: 05/13/2014)

May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014

PACER
32

Clerks Notice to Filer re 28 Plaintiff's OBJECTION of Magistrate Judge 23 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Prison Legal News Recommending that the Plaintiff's 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction be Grante. Wrong Event Selected; ERROR - The Filer selected the wrong event. The document was re-docketed by the Clerk, see [de#31]. It is not necessary to refile this document. (jua) (Entered: 05/13/2014)

May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014

PACER
33

RESPONSE TO OBJECTION to 23 Report and Recommendations by Prison Legal News. (Trevisani, Dante) (Entered: 05/15/2014)

May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014

PACER
34

Notice of Supplemental Authority re 4 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Prison Legal News (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit PLN v. Ventura County Order Granting Preliminary Injunction)(Trevisani, Dante) (Entered: 05/30/2014)

May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014

PACER
35

Paperless ORDER granting 26 Motion for Extension of Time. The parties' objections to the Magistrate's Report and Recommendations (D.E. No. 23) are accepted as filed. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 6/2/2014. (tde) (Entered: 06/02/2014)

June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

PACER
36

ORDER Setting Civil Trial Date and Pretrial Schedule: ( Trial set for 1/26/2015 in Fort Pierce Division before Judge Jose E. Martinez., Calendar Call set for 1/22/2015 01:30 PM in Miami Division before Judge Jose E. Martinez., Amended Pleadings due by 9/18/2014., All Discovery due by 11/12/2014., Joinder of Parties due by 9/18/2014., Mediation Deadline 12/17/2014., In Limine Motions due by 12/29/2014., Dispositive Motions due by 11/17/2014., Joint Pretrial Stipulation due by 1/6/2015.), ORDER REFERRING CASE to Mediation. ( Mediation Deadline 12/17/2014.), ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. for All Discovery Motions Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 7/8/2014. (See order for further deadlines and details) (jua) (Entered: 07/09/2014)

July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

PACER
37

Unopposed MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney for Plaintiff by Robert E. Jack. by Prison Legal News. Responses due by 8/25/2014 (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Jack, Robert) (Entered: 08/08/2014)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Aug. 8, 2014

Aug. 8, 2014

RECAP
38

ORDER adopting 23 Report and Recommendations ;granting in part 4 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 9/8/2014. (jua) (Entered: 09/08/2014)

Sept. 8, 2014

Sept. 8, 2014

Clearinghouse
39

ORDER GRANTING WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL; 37 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Robert Erle Jack terminated. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 09/22/2014. (yar) (Entered: 09/23/2014)

Sept. 23, 2014

Sept. 23, 2014

PACER
40

STIPULATION of Dismissal with Prejudice (Joint) by Prison Legal News (Berg, Randall) (Entered: 12/16/2014)

Dec. 16, 2014

Dec. 16, 2014

RECAP
41

FINAL ORDER of Dismissal with Prejudice and Order Denying All Pending Motions as Moot. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 12/17/2014. (jua) NOTICE: If there are sealed documents in this case, they may be unsealed after 1 year or as directed by Court Order, unless they have been designated to be permanently sealed. See Local Rule 5.4 and Administrative Order 2014-69. (Entered: 12/18/2014)

Dec. 17, 2014

Dec. 17, 2014

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Speech and Religious Freedom

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 17, 2013

Closing Date: Dec. 17, 2014

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prison Legal News

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

Florida Justice Institute

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Sheriff of St. Lucie County Jail (St. Lucie, Florida), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Due Process: Procedural 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

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: $50,000

Order Duration: 2014 - 2014

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Conditions of confinement

Mail

Type of Facility:

Government-run