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Case: K.L.W. v. James

2:04-cv-00149 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: April 13, 2004

Closed Date: Dec. 2, 2004

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a case challenging the attorney visitation policy and legal assistance program at Columbia Training School. The named plaintiff, a developmentally disabled child incarcerated in one of Mississippi's juvenile prisons, filed a class action suit on April 13, 2004 against the prison's administrator, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the state's Director of the Division of Youth Services in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississi…

This is a case challenging the attorney visitation policy and legal assistance program at Columbia Training School. The named plaintiff, a developmentally disabled child incarcerated in one of Mississippi's juvenile prisons, filed a class action suit on April 13, 2004 against the prison's administrator, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the state's Director of the Division of Youth Services in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Represented by The Mississippi Center for Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief through 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The suit alleged that the state had created a series of obstacles to incarcerated children trying to access the court, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Alfred G. Nicols.

Columbia Training School, where the plaintiff in this case was housed, had a policy of requiring a youth court order before a child was allowed to speak with an attorney. The plaintiff’s complaint explained that a 2001 study found that most of the children at Columbia and Oakley Training School, Mississippi's other juvenile facility, suffered from mental disorders or disabilities that limited their ability to communicate. The plaintiff further noted that the following year a legislative committee found many health and treatment deficiencies in the facilities. The U.S. Department of Justice also investigated the facilities. At the conclusion of their investigation, they announced in a 2003 letter that they had found rampant abuse and neglect and that both facilities violated the constitutional and statutory rights of children housed in the facilities.

The investigations revealed that Columbia employed practices including hog-tying, pole-shackling, and prolonged isolation of suicidal children in dark rooms without ventilation or toilets. Another case, Morgan v. Sproat, addressed these conditions. After their children reported suffering abuse at the facilities, several parents requested that attorneys be allowed to meet with their children, including the plaintiff. Columbia’s policy required a youth court order for attorney meetings. But the families alleged that when they attempted to get youth court orders, the court failed to respond to their requests. Attorneys reached out in a letter to confirm the policy, which went unanswered by the Director of the Division of Youth Services, counsel for the Department of Human Services, and an attorney in the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General. After the named plaintiff’s mother visited her allegedly scared and injured son at Columbia, she tried to call the Administrator of Columbia and was informed that she needed a youth court order in order to speak with an attorney. According to the complaint, the Acting Administrator of Columbia hung up on her. 

The plaintiff also moved for class certification for all current and future residents of Columbia and an immediate preliminary injunction requiring the facilities to allow residents to meet with attorneys and to ensure their meaningful and effective access to courts free from harassment or retaliation. The case was reassigned from Judge William H. Barbour Jr. to Judge David C. Bramlette III and referred to Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner.

On July 12, 2004, Magistrate Judge Sumner consolidated this case with U.S. v. Mississippi, reassigning this case to Judge Henry T. Wingate. The case was consolidated before the District Court ruled on class certification. The court dismissed the case on December 2, 2004, and a settlement agreement was signed January 12, 2005, effective immediately. Under the settlement, the defendants agreed to:

  • tell children that they have a constitutional right to ask for help from a lawyer;
  • help children make legal requests;
  • ensure that the requests are delivered; and
  • abandon its original policy of requiring a court order before a lawyer was allowed to respond to a child in trouble.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Zoe Van Dyke (10/11/2022)

Related Cases

Morgan v. Sproat, Southern District of Mississippi (1975)

U.S. v. Mississippi, Southern District of Mississippi (2003)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
83

2:04-cv-00149

Settlement Agreement in K.L W. V. James

U.S. v. Mississippi - Settlement Agreement in K.L.W. v. James [Consolidated]

Jan. 12, 2005

Jan. 12, 2005

Settlement Agreement

2:04-cv-00149

Complaint

Williams v. James

None

None

Complaint

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14057382/williams-v-james/

Last updated Oct. 12, 2022, 4:58 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT Filing Fee $ 150.00 Receipt # H007199 ; Notice of Assignment mailed. (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
2

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams to Certify Class ; with attachments (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
3

MEMORANDUM by plaintiff Rosetta Williams in support of [2-1] motion to Certify Class by plaintiff (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
4

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams for Immediate Preliminary Injunction ; with attachments (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
5

MEMORANDUM by plaintiff Rosetta Williams in support of [4-1] motion for Immediate Preliminary Injunction by plaintiff (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
6

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams for Danielle J. Lipow to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; with attachment (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER
7

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams for Sheila A. Bedi to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; with attachments (ldr) (Entered: 04/13/2004)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER

Pro Hac Vice fee paid by Danielle J. Lipow FILING FEE $ 25.00 RECEIPT # H007200 (ldr)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER

Pro Hac Vice fee paid by Sheila A. Bedi FILING FEE $ 25.00 RECEIPT # H007201 (ldr)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER

Case assigned to Pending Track - designation of appropriate track will be made after Case Management Conference and a final track assignment. (ldr)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER

Magistrate Judge Assignment: Alfred G. Nicols (ldr)

April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

PACER

SUMMONS(ES) issued for defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman (ldr)

April 14, 2004

April 14, 2004

PACER
8

ORDER granting [7-1] motion for Sheila A. Bedi to Appear Pro Hac Vice ( signed 4/16/04 by Magistrate Judge Alfred G. Nicols ); copies mailed. (akl) (Entered: 04/20/2004)

April 20, 2004

April 20, 2004

PACER
9

ORDER granting [6-1] motion for Danielle J. Lipow to Appear Pro Hac Vice ( signed 4/16/04 by Magistrate Judge Alfred G. Nicols ); copies mailed. (akl) (Entered: 04/20/2004)

April 20, 2004

April 20, 2004

PACER
10

SUMMONS Returned Executed as to defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman 4/15/04 Answer due on 5/5/04 for Kathy Pittman, for Donald Taylor, for Richard James (akl) (Entered: 04/20/2004)

April 20, 2004

April 20, 2004

PACER
11

CORRECTED ORDER OF RECUSAL, case is reassigned to the next Judge in accordance with the rules of the Court ( signed 4/21/04 by Judge William H. Barbour Jr. ); copies mailed. (akl) (Entered: 04/23/2004)

April 23, 2004

April 23, 2004

PACER

CASE reassinged to Judge David C. Bramlette III (akl)

April 23, 2004

April 23, 2004

PACER

Magistrate Judge Assignment James C. Sumner (akl)

April 23, 2004

April 23, 2004

PACER
12

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams to Extend Time to serve their rebuttal to Defendants Response to Plaintiffs Motion for Immediate Preliminary Injunction (mjr) (Entered: 04/30/2004)

April 30, 2004

April 30, 2004

PACER
13

NOTICE of Filing of Motion to Consolidate in Related Case by plaintiff Rosetta Williams (akl) (Entered: 05/05/2004)

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004

PACER
14

REPLY by plaintiff Rosetta Williams to response to [4-1] motion for Immediate Preliminary Injunction by plaintiff (akl) (Entered: 05/05/2004)

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004

PACER
18

MOTION by defendant Richard James to Extend Time to respond to plaintiffs motion for class certification (mjr) (Entered: 05/28/2004)

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004

PACER
15

ANSWER to Complaint by defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman (Attorney Jim Hood, Harold Edward Pizzetta III) (akl) (Entered: 05/06/2004)

May 6, 2004

May 6, 2004

PACER
16

Rule 16.1(A) Initial Order; copies mailed (mjr) (Entered: 05/18/2004)

May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

PACER

Telephonic Case Management Conference set 3:30 7/13/04 location: Chambers before Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner copies mailed to Sheila A. Bedi, Danielle J. Lipow, Harold Edward Pizzetta III, Jim Hood, David B. Miller (mjr)

May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

PACER
17

NOTICE of Filing of Response to Motion to Consolidate by plaintiff Rosetta Williams (mjr) (Entered: 05/20/2004)

May 20, 2004

May 20, 2004

PACER
19

NOTICE of Filing opposition to consolidation by defendant Richard James (mjr) (Entered: 05/28/2004)

May 25, 2004

May 25, 2004

PACER
20

RESPONSE by plaintiff Rosetta Williams in opposition to consolidation (mjr) (Entered: 06/10/2004)

May 25, 2004

May 25, 2004

PACER
21

MOTION by defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman for Judgment on the Pleadings (mjr) Modified on 06/10/2004 (Entered: 06/08/2004)

June 8, 2004

June 8, 2004

PACER
22

MEMORANDUM by defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman in support of [20-1] motion for Judgment on the Pleadings by defendantss (mjr) Modified on 06/10/2004 (Entered: 06/08/2004)

June 8, 2004

June 8, 2004

PACER
23

MOTION by defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman to Stay Class Certification (mjr) Modified on 06/10/2004 (Entered: 06/10/2004)

June 8, 2004

June 8, 2004

PACER
24

NOTICE of Filing in related case plaintiff Rosetta Williams (mjr) Modified on 06/10/2004 (Entered: 06/10/2004)

June 10, 2004

June 10, 2004

PACER
25

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams to Extend Time in which to serve responses to Defendants Motions (mjr) (Entered: 06/16/2004)

June 16, 2004

June 16, 2004

PACER
26

ORDER granting [25-1] motion to Extend Time in which to serve responses to Defendants Motions; granted until 7/9/04 ( signed by Judge David C. Bramlette III ); copies mailed. (mjr) (Entered: 06/25/2004)

June 25, 2004

June 25, 2004

PACER
27

Notice of Service of Disclosure by defendant Richard James, defendant Donald Taylor, defendant Kathy Pittman (mjr) (Entered: 07/07/2004)

July 7, 2004

July 7, 2004

PACER
28

Notice of Service of Disclosure by plaintiff Rosetta Williams (mjr) (Entered: 07/07/2004)

July 7, 2004

July 7, 2004

PACER
29

MOTION by plaintiff Rosetta Williams to Extend Time to respond to Motions (mjr) (Entered: 07/13/2004)

July 12, 2004

July 12, 2004

PACER
30

ORDER granting [29-1] motion to Consolidate Cases 2:04cv149BrSu and 3:03cv1354WSu are consolidated for all purposes. All subsequent filings shall be made solely in civil action no. 3:03cv1354WSu. ( signed by Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner ); copies mailed. (mjr) (Entered: 07/13/2004)

July 12, 2004

July 12, 2004

PACER

CASE reassigned to Judge Henry T. Wingate (mjr)

July 12, 2004

July 12, 2004

PACER

Consolidated Member Case . Lead Case Number: 3:03cv1354 (mjr)

July 13, 2004

July 13, 2004

PACER
31

ORDER OF DISMISSAL, Dismissing Case with prejudice ( signed by Magistrate Judge James C. Sumner ); copies mailed. (mjr) (Entered: 12/02/2004)

Dec. 2, 2004

Dec. 2, 2004

PACER

Case closed (mjr)

Dec. 2, 2004

Dec. 2, 2004

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 13, 2004

Closing Date: Dec. 2, 2004

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A developmentally disabled child incarcerated seeking to represent all current and future residents of Columbia Training School

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Poverty Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

Columbia Training School (Columbia, Marion), State

Mississippi Department of Human Services (Jackson, Hinds), State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Grievance procedures

Juveniles

Visiting

Type of Facility:

Government-run