Case: Rosenthal v. Malcolm

1:74-cv-04854 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: Nov. 20, 1974

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Case Summary

On November 20, 1974, the plaintiffs in this case filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Suing under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the plaintiffs––individuals who were receiving mental health care––alleged that the shutdown of Branch Queens House of Detention ("Branch Queens") and failure to provide equivalent treatment and services at a comparable facility violated their constitutional rights. Represented by the Legal Aid Society of New York City, the plaintiffs named …

On November 20, 1974, the plaintiffs in this case filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Suing under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the plaintiffs––individuals who were receiving mental health care––alleged that the shutdown of Branch Queens House of Detention ("Branch Queens") and failure to provide equivalent treatment and services at a comparable facility violated their constitutional rights. Represented by the Legal Aid Society of New York City, the plaintiffs named as defendants the City of New York, its Department of Corrections, and relevant officials and sought injunctive relief on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons. The case was assigned to Judge Robert J. Ward. The court granted class certification in a brief order on July 24, 1975.

Shortly after the plaintiffs filed their complaint, the court granted a preliminary injunction on November 24, 1974, which required that the defendants provide comparable treatment and services. A year later, on November 28 and December 23, 1975, the court expanded the scope of injunctive relief by requiring that the defendants also provide notice that individuals had a right to contact visits and preserve the programs and services available at the Adult Mental Health Center, a wing of Rikers Island.

On October 25, 1976, and February 15, 1977, the parties entered into a pair of settlement agreements that resolved all claims brought by the plaintiff class. The agreement set forth that the defendants would continue to permit contact visits, afford opportunities for detained persons to have outdoor recreation time as well as other recreational programs, maintain adequate levels of staff, and allow at least one telephone call a day. The court entered a judgment retaining jurisdiction to oversee the implementation of the settlement agreement on March 17, 1977.

On March 31, 1981, the court ordered that the defendants eliminate disparities between class members and other pre-trial detained persons with respect to the length of lock-in periods. A slight modification, removing an exception that permitted further confinement for the administration of medication, was made on May 23, 1986.

On June 10, 1981, the court entered a supplemental stipulation of final judgment that covered an wider range of issues and that added to the 1976-77 settlement agreement. These included possession and receipt of clothing and jewelry; correspondence; confiscation of property; cell and body cavity search procedures; religious services; attorney visitation; law library access; and food services.

Summary Authors

Matthew Feng (5/24/2023)

People


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff

Hellerstein, William E. (Nevada)

Katz, Theodore H. (New York)

Lewis, David A. (New York)

Mushlin, Michael B. (New York)

Attorney for Defendant

Koerner, Leonard J. (New York)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:74-cv-04854

Order

July 24, 1975

July 24, 1975

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Counter Order

Dec. 23, 1975

Dec. 23, 1975

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Final Judgment

March 17, 1977

March 17, 1977

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Supplemental Stipulation

June 10, 1981

June 10, 1981

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Supplemental Final Judgment by Consent

June 10, 1981

June 10, 1981

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Supplemental Final Judgment by Consent

June 11, 1981

June 11, 1981

Order/Opinion

1:74-cv-04854

Stipulation and Order

June 10, 1986

June 10, 1986

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated April 15, 2024, 3:09 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 20, 1974

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Individuals detained at the Branch Queens House of Detention

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

New York City Department of Corrections (New York, New York), City

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Available Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Order Duration: 1977 - None

Issues

General/Misc.:

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Recreation / Exercise

Totality of conditions

Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:

Law library access

Placement in mental health facilities

Medical/Mental Health Care:

Medical care, general