Case: Alberti v. Klevenhagen

4:72-cv-01094 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: Aug. 14, 1972

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1972, plaintiffs filed a class action suit against the Harris County Commissioners Court and the County Sheriff's Department in district court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging unconstitutional jail conditions resulting from overcrowding. In 1975, the court (Judge Carl O. Bue, Jr.) entered a consent decree and instructed defendants to take remedial action to alleviate overcrowding in the jail, to address sanitation problems, and to submit reports to court of its progress. Alberti …

In 1972, plaintiffs filed a class action suit against the Harris County Commissioners Court and the County Sheriff's Department in district court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging unconstitutional jail conditions resulting from overcrowding. In 1975, the court (Judge Carl O. Bue, Jr.) entered a consent decree and instructed defendants to take remedial action to alleviate overcrowding in the jail, to address sanitation problems, and to submit reports to court of its progress. Alberti v. Sheriff of Harris Co., 406 F. Supp. 649 (S.D. Tex. 1975).

The court issued subsequent orders instructing defendants to continue to improve jail conditions, specifically staffing and supervision. In 1985, the court found defendants in civil contempt for failing to comply with staffing requirements laid out in a 1984 order. Alberti v. Klevenhagen, 610 F. Supp. 138 (S.D. Tex. 1985). Defendants appealed the 1985 staffing order, and in 1986, the Fifth Circuit affirmed, Alberti v. Klevenhagen, 790 F.2d 1220 (5th Cir. 1986), and later denied a rehearing en banc. Alberti v. Klevenhagen, 799 F.2d 992 (5th Cir. 1986). Over the next several years, the jail was monitored by a special master, a medical monitor-assessor, and a jail monitor-assessor.

Around 1989, defendants joined the Governor of Texas as a third-party defendant, alleging that the state was responsible for overcrowded conditions because the state jail refused to accept state inmates held at the county jail. The state defendants petitioned the Fifth Circuit for a writ of mandamus to compel transfer of the third-party complaint to a different court. The Fifth Circuit granted petitioners' request in part, concluding that mandamus should issue requiring transfer to a different court of the remedy portion of the third party action. The court declined, however, to transfer any other portion of the litigation. 881 F.2d 145

In 1991, the Fifth Circuit held that the state could be held liable for conditions in the county jail system if the state were deliberately indifferent to conditions at the jails and remanded the issue of indifference. Alberti v. Sheriff of Harris Co., 937 F.2d 984 (5th Cir. 1991). The district court (Chief Judge James DeAnda) held both the state and county liable; defendants appealed, the Fifth Circuit affirmed, Alberti v. Sheriff of Harris Co., 978 F.2d 893 (5th Cir. 1992), and the Supreme Court denied defendants' certiorari petition. Richards v. Alberti, 509 U.S. 905 (1993).

Sometime after the Supreme Court denied defendants' writ of certiorari, the district court (Chief Judge Norman W. Black) denied the state's motion to modify the court's 1991 order, and the state appealed. In 1995, the Fifth Circuit affirmed most of the district court's holding but reversed on the issue of population caps. Alberti v. Klevenhagen, 46 F.3d 1347 (5th Cir. 1995).

The PACER docket for this case, which begins in 1992, is virtually empty, so we have no information after 1995 except that the case was reassigned to a new district judge in 1997. The docket records that the case was closed in 1992.

 

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (6/13/2007)

Jonah Hudson-Erdman (4/2/2022)

Related Cases

In re Clements, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1989)

People


Judge(s)

Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Texas)

Brown, Paul Neeley (Texas)

Bue, Carl Olaf Jr. (Texas)

Duhe, John Malcolm Jr. (Louisiana)

Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (Texas)

Hill, Robert Madden (Texas)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

King, Carolyn Dineen (Texas)

Lake, Simeon Timothy III (Texas)

Lively, Pierce (Kentucky)

Judge(s)

Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Texas)

Brown, Paul Neeley (Texas)

Bue, Carl Olaf Jr. (Texas)

Duhe, John Malcolm Jr. (Louisiana)

Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (Texas)

Hill, Robert Madden (Texas)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

King, Carolyn Dineen (Texas)

Lake, Simeon Timothy III (Texas)

Lively, Pierce (Kentucky)

Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Texas)

Rosenthal, Lee Hyman (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Griffiths, Bruce V. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Aguilar, Javier (Texas)

Begle, Eileen C. (Texas)

Birnberg, Gerald M. (Texas)

Driscoll, Mike (Texas)

Eversole, Jerry (Texas)

Fonteno, Jim (Texas)

Landry, Edward J. (Texas)

Lawrence, Roderick O. (Texas)

Lee, El Franco (Texas)

Morales, Dan (Texas)

Moss, Joe S. (Texas)

Oitzinger, James T. (Texas)

Ozer, Robert M. (Texas)

Qualtrough, Kerrie Jo (Texas)

Radack, Steven (Texas)

Resweber, Joe (Texas)

Rice, Lisa S. (Texas)

Salinas, Lupe (Texas)

Sheppard, Anthony D. (Texas)

Speece, Ray (Texas)

Streicher, Harold M. (Texas)

Vance, Carol S. (Texas)

Worley, John B. (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

White, William (Texas)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Keating, J. Michael (Rhode Island)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:72-cv-01094

Docket [PACER]

July 28, 1997

July 28, 1997

Docket

4:72-cv-01094

Memorandum and Opinion

Dec. 16, 1975

Dec. 16, 1975

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Order

April 10, 1985

April 10, 1985

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Order

May 24, 1985

May 24, 1985

Order/Opinion

85-02036

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

June 4, 1986

June 4, 1986

Order/Opinion

85-02036

On Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Sept. 15, 1986

Sept. 15, 1986

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Order Appointing Special Masters

April 28, 1987

April 28, 1987

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Amended Order

Sept. 1, 1987

Sept. 1, 1987

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Order

Albert v. Sheriff of Harris County

Oct. 8, 1987

Oct. 8, 1987

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-01094

Reported Opinion

William P. CLEMENTS, et al., Petitioners

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Aug. 11, 1989

Aug. 11, 1989

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated Sept. 3, 2022, 3:06 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

CASE reassigned to Judge Norman W. Black (fmremp) (Entered: 10/02/1992)

Sept. 30, 1992

Sept. 30, 1992

Case closed (fmremp) (Entered: 11/20/1992)

Nov. 18, 1992

Nov. 18, 1992

CASE reassigned to Judge Lee H. Rosenthal due to the untimely death of Judge Norman W Black (fmremp) (Entered: 07/28/1997)

July 28, 1997

July 28, 1997

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 14, 1972

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are inmates of the Harris County Jail.

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Harris County Jails, County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1975 - None

Issues

General:

Sanitation / living conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run