Case: Teddy R. Serrano v. County Executive Hartzell

2:88-cv-08966 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Nov. 20, 1988

Closed Date: 1990

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 20, 1988, a class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of prisoners at Northampton County Prison challenging the adequacy of the prison law library materials and inmates' access to the courts. The plaintiff class was represented by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. We do not have access to the original complaint or the ensuing court decree so we do not know whether the issues in the case …

On November 20, 1988, a class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of prisoners at Northampton County Prison challenging the adequacy of the prison law library materials and inmates' access to the courts. The plaintiff class was represented by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. We do not have access to the original complaint or the ensuing court decree so we do not know whether the issues in the case were limited solely to inmates' access to the courts or if it covered institutions other than Northhampton.

On March 8, 1989, a consent decree was entered in the case. Serrano v. Northampton County Prison Commission, No. 88- 8966 (E.D.Pa.1989). It required a number of changes to law library policies, including establishing hours of operation, ensuring current volumes of a number of specific law reporters, rules and journals, providing inmates with timely access to materials requested that were not in the library, ensuring a working typewriter, and staffing the prison law library with an inmate trained in legal research to assist inmates in research. In subsequent separate litigation concerning adequacy of law library materials, prison officials submitted an affidavit attesting to the procedures they employed to remain in compliance with the 1989 decree.

According to the docket on PACER, the case was closed in June 1990. Because the docket is devoid of content save a listing of parties, all information about this case was obtained from a reference to the court decree in Thomas v. Olander, 877 F.Supp. 242 (E.D. Pa. 1995), a different case that addressed adequacy of law library provisions.

Summary Authors

Denise Lieberman (11/14/2005)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8968441/parties/serrano-v-hartzell/


Judge(s)

Huyett, Daniel Henry III (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baratta, Stephen G. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Huyett, Daniel Henry III (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baratta, Stephen G. (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:88-cv-08966

Docket

Serrano v. Hartzell

Nov. 16, 2005

Nov. 16, 2005

Docket

93-02229

Opinion

Thomas v. Olander

877 F.Supp. 242

Jan. 9, 1995

Jan. 9, 1995

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8968441/serrano-v-hartzell/

Last updated Aug. 11, 2022, 2:30 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

Case closed (kc)

June 1, 1990

June 1, 1990

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 20, 1988

Closing Date: 1990

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates at Northampton County Prison

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Northampton Prison (Northampton), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1989 - 1990

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Law library access

Type of Facility:

Government-run