Case: Pena v. New York State Division for Youth

1:70-cv-04868 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: Nov. 6, 1970

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 6, 1970, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all youths placed with and paroled by the Goshen Annex for Boys, an institution run by the New York State Training School System, against the New York State Division for Youth. The plaintiffs, represented by the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society, sought injunctive relief, alleging that Goshen violated the Eighth and …

On November 6, 1970, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all youths placed with and paroled by the Goshen Annex for Boys, an institution run by the New York State Training School System, against the New York State Division for Youth. The plaintiffs, represented by the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society, sought injunctive relief, alleging that Goshen violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by using isolation, hand and feet restraints, and tranquilizing drugs to control and punish undesirable behavior.

The complaint in this case was filed shortly after the filing of a nearly identical action against the Brookwood Annex for Girls, Lollis v. Department of Social Services, No. 70-4750, JI-NY-007. In both cases, the plaintiffs petitioned the court for preliminary injunctions against the State. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Morris E. Lasker) refused to consolidate the cases but instead treated the actions as companion cases. On December 18, 1970, the court (Judge Lasker) held that extended isolation of a juvenile in an unfurnished room was cruel and unusual punishment. Lollis v. New York State Dept. of Soc. Serv., 322 F. Supp. 473 (S.D.N.Y. 1970). The court issued preliminary injunctions barring the State from placing either plaintiff in extended isolation and ordered the State submit proposed standards for the imposition of isolation, but declined to adjudicate the restraint complaints raised in Pena.

On January 19, 1971, the court certified the class in Pena. On April 30, 1971, the court (Judge Lasker) upheld the preliminary injunction but, citing Sostre v. McGinnis, 442 F.2d 178 (2d Cir. 1971), rescinded its order. Lollis v. New York State Dept. of Soc. Serv., 328 F. Supp. 1115 (S.D.N.Y. 1971). On February 26, 1975, New York amended the regulations governing confinement and restraining juveniles.

On February 11, 1976, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Constance Baker Motley) entered judgment on the plaintiffs' request for a permanent injunction to prohibit the State from using isolation and physical or pharmaceutical restraint on boys detained at the Goshen Annex. Pena v. New York State Division for Youth, 419 F. Supp. 203 (S.D.N.Y. 1976). The court recognized that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees rehabilitative treatment to juvenile offenders. The court also acknowledged that punitively restraining, tranquilizing, and isolating juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment and is proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. The court ordered Goshen Annex both to comply with the new juvenile detention regulations and to discontinue specific practices, including intramuscular injection of Thorazine and leaving children hogtied. The court declined to completely bar the use of restraints and isolation, however, because an impregnable prohibition could hamper development of new therapeutic treatments.

We do not have the docket or pleadings in this case and know of no subsequent history.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Chilcoat (5/19/2006)

Related Cases

Lollis v. Dept. of Social Services, Southern District of New York (1970)

People


Judge(s)

Lasker, Morris Edward (Massachusetts)

Lumbard, Joseph Edward (New York)

Motley, Constance Baker (New York)

Pratt, George Cheney (New York)

Winter, Ralph K. Jr. (Connecticut)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Asin, Steven G. (New York)

Fink, Janet R. (New York)

Gittis, Lenore (New York)

Guggenheim, Martin (New York)

Neuborne, Burt (New York)

Judge(s)

Lasker, Morris Edward (Massachusetts)

Lumbard, Joseph Edward (New York)

Motley, Constance Baker (New York)

Pratt, George Cheney (New York)

Winter, Ralph K. Jr. (Connecticut)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Asin, Steven G. (New York)

Fink, Janet R. (New York)

Gittis, Lenore (New York)

Guggenheim, Martin (New York)

Neuborne, Burt (New York)

Schinitsky, Charles (New York)

Silbert, James D. (New York)

Weintraub, Henry S. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abrams, Robert W. (New York)

Hoffman, Hillel (New York)

Juliver, Amy (New York)

Zuckerman, George D. (New York)

Zwickel, Howard L. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Lefkowitz, Louis J. (New York)

Thorpe, Mara T. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:70-cv-04868

70-04750

Opinion

Lollis v. New York State Department of Social Services

322 F.Supp. 473

Dec. 18, 1970

Dec. 18, 1970

Order/Opinion

1:70-cv-04868

70-04750

Opinion

Lollis v. New York State Department of Social Services

328 F.Supp. 1115

April 30, 1971

April 30, 1971

Order/Opinion

1:70-cv-04868

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

419 F.Supp. 203

Feb. 11, 1976

Feb. 11, 1976

Order/Opinion

82-07876

USCA Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

708 F.2d 877, 1983 U.S.App.LEXIS 27348

May 25, 1983

May 25, 1983

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 13, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 6, 1970

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

all youths placed with and paroled by the Goshen Annex for Boys, an institution run by the New York State Training School System

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

New York State Division for Youth, State

Goshen Annex for Boys, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1970 - 0

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Restraints : chemical

Restraints : physical

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run