Case: Wagner v. Harris County, Texas

4:23-cv-02886 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: Aug. 7, 2023

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 7, 2023, this case was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of 27 pre-trial detainees who had either died or suffered severe injuries in the Harris County Jail. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs—who were relatives of the detainees—alleged that defendant Harris County and its policy-makers were aware of unconstitutional conditions at the Harris County Jail, and that damages were caused by their deliberately indifferent policies an…

On August 7, 2023, this case was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of 27 pre-trial detainees who had either died or suffered severe injuries in the Harris County Jail. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs—who were relatives of the detainees—alleged that defendant Harris County and its policy-makers were aware of unconstitutional conditions at the Harris County Jail, and that damages were caused by their deliberately indifferent policies and practices, including: (1) failure to observe and monitor; (2) failure to provide medical care; (3) use of excessive force; (4) a culture of violence; and (5) understaffing and overcrowding. The complaint noted that the U.S. Department of Justice had issued a letter in 2009 finding various constitutional violations at the jail related to medical and mental health care and protection from physical harm and safety hazards.

The plaintiffs brought two Monell claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging 14th Amendment violations—one for conditions of confinement and one for failure to train or supervise—on behalf of all detainees, along with a claim for violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act on behalf of 17 of the detainees. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages and attorneys' fees. The case was assigned to Judge Keith P. Ellison.

Later that month, on November 17, 2023, the mother of one of the detainees included in the original complaint moved to intervene in this case. The proposed plaintiff-intervenor also filed a related case (4:23-cv-04336) and moved to consolidate them.

A few days later, on November 21, the plaintiffs amended the complaint and added five plaintiffs. On December 5, 2023, Harris County filed both a motion to dismiss and a motion to sever plaintiffs’ claims into individual lawsuits. As of April 5, 2024, these motions are pending.

Summary Authors

Kyle O'Hara (3/8/2024)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67671178/parties/wagner-v-harris-county-texas/


Judge(s)

Ellison, Keith P. (Texas)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Anglin, Jeremiah (Texas)

Coote, John (Texas)

Crump, Benjamin L (Texas)

Euell, Taylor (Texas)

Attorney for Defendant

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

4:23-cv-02886

Plaintiff's Original Complaint

Aug. 7, 2023

Aug. 7, 2023

Complaint
20

4:23-cv-02886

Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint

Nov. 21, 2023

Nov. 21, 2023

Complaint

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67671178/wagner-v-harris-county-texas/

Last updated May 6, 2024, 3:21 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Prisoner Civil Rights COMPLAINT against Harris County, Texas (Filing fee $ 402 receipt number ATXSDC-30315105) filed by Octevia Wagner. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet)(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 08/07/2023)

1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 7, 2023

Aug. 7, 2023

Clearinghouse
2

ORDER for Initial Pretrial and Scheduling Conference and Order to Disclose Interested Persons. Initial Conference set for 11/17/2023 at 03:00 PM in Courtroom 3A Houston before Judge Keith P Ellison. (Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified.(JoanDavenport, 4) (Entered: 08/09/2023)

Aug. 9, 2023

Aug. 9, 2023

PACER
3

Request for Issuance of Summons as to Octevia Wagner, filed.(Dekle, David) (Entered: 08/09/2023)

Aug. 9, 2023

Aug. 9, 2023

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to Harris County, Texas. Issued summons delivered to plaintiff by NEF, filed.(RebeccaBecknal, 4) (Entered: 08/11/2023)

Aug. 11, 2023

Aug. 11, 2023

PACER
5

CERTIFICATE OF INTERESTED PARTIES by Octevia Wagner, filed.(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 08/23/2023)

Aug. 23, 2023

Aug. 23, 2023

PACER
6

Agreed MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to the Complaint by Harris County, Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 9/20/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 08/30/2023)

Aug. 30, 2023

Aug. 30, 2023

PACER
7

ORDER granting 6 Motion for Extension of Time; Motion-related deadline set re: 6 Agreed MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to the Complaint.; Answer due for Harris County, Texas due by 11/4/2023.(Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified.(ArturoRivera, 4) (Entered: 08/30/2023)

Aug. 30, 2023

Aug. 30, 2023

PACER
8

MOTION to Dismiss 1 Complaint by Harris County, Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 11/24/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix A, # 2 Proposed Order)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 11/03/2023)

Nov. 3, 2023

Nov. 3, 2023

PACER
9

MOTION to Sever Plaintiffs' Claims by Harris County, Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 11/24/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix A, # 2 Proposed Order)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 11/03/2023)

Nov. 3, 2023

Nov. 3, 2023

PACER
10

Notice Regarding Initial Conference(Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified.(ArturoRivera, 4) (Entered: 11/08/2023)

Nov. 8, 2023

Nov. 8, 2023

PACER
11

NOTICE of Change of Address by Paul A. Grinke, counsel for Ben Crump Law PLLC, filed. (Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 11/10/2023)

Nov. 10, 2023

Nov. 10, 2023

PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Gregory C. Ulmer on behalf of Harris County, Texas, filed. (Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 11/10/2023)

Nov. 10, 2023

Nov. 10, 2023

PACER
13

NOTICE of Appearance by James E. Phillips on behalf of Harris County, Texas, filed. (Phillips, James) (Entered: 11/10/2023)

Nov. 10, 2023

Nov. 10, 2023

PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Kristen H. Luck on behalf of Harris County, Texas, filed. (Luck, Kristen) (Entered: 11/10/2023)

Nov. 10, 2023

Nov. 10, 2023

PACER
15

NOTICE of Appearance by Ryan A. Walton on behalf of Harris County, Texas, filed. (Walton, Ryan) (Entered: 11/10/2023)

Nov. 10, 2023

Nov. 10, 2023

PACER
16

SCHEDULING ORDER. ETT: 20. Jury. Amended Pleadings due by 4/1/2024. Joinder of Parties due by 3/4/2024 Pltf Expert Witness List due by 6/3/2024. Deft Expert Witness List due by 7/1/2024. Discovery due by 9/2/2024. Dispositive Motion Filing due by 9/16/2024. Non-Dispositive Motion Filing due by 9/16/2024. Joint Pretrial Order due by 12/9/2024. Jury Trial set for 12/16/2024 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 3A Houston before Judge Keith P Ellison(Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified.(GeorgeKelner, 4) (Entered: 11/13/2023)

Nov. 13, 2023

Nov. 13, 2023

PACER

Terminate Deadlines (PUBLIC ENTRY)

Nov. 14, 2023

Nov. 14, 2023

PACER

initial conference is terminated. (ArturoRivera, 4)

Nov. 14, 2023

Nov. 14, 2023

PACER
17

MOTION to Intervene by Ana Garcia, filed. Motion Docket Date 12/8/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (Proposed Civil Complaint), # 2 Proposed Order)(Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 11/17/2023)

1 Exhibit 1 (Proposed Civil Complaint)

View on PACER

2 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Nov. 17, 2023

Nov. 17, 2023

RECAP
18

NOTICE of Appearance by Kevin Acevedo on behalf of Ana Garcia, filed. (Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 11/17/2023)

Nov. 17, 2023

Nov. 17, 2023

PACER
19

NOTICE of Appearance by Mohammed Obaid Shariff on behalf of Ana Garcia, filed. (Shariff, Mohammed) (Entered: 11/21/2023)

Nov. 21, 2023

Nov. 21, 2023

PACER
20

First AMENDED COMPLAINT against Harris County, Texas filed by Ben Crump Law PLLC, Tramell Morelle, Bernard Lockhart, Deborah Smith, Judith Jones, Jackie Luna.(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 11/21/2023)

Nov. 21, 2023

Nov. 21, 2023

PACER
21

MOTION to Dismiss 20 Amended Complaint/Counterclaim/Crossclaim etc. by Harris County, Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 12/26/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix A, # 2 Proposed Order)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 12/05/2023)

Dec. 5, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023

PACER
22

MOTION to Sever Plaintiffs' Amended Claims by Harris County, Texas, filed. Motion Docket Date 12/26/2023. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix A, # 2 Proposed Order)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 12/05/2023)

Dec. 5, 2023

Dec. 5, 2023

PACER
23

JOINT DISCOVERY/CASE MANAGEMENT PLAN by Octevia Wagner, filed.(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 12/13/2023)

Dec. 13, 2023

Dec. 13, 2023

RECAP
24

NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by Ana Garcia, filed. (Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 12/13/2023)

Dec. 13, 2023

Dec. 13, 2023

RECAP
25

RESPONSE in Opposition to 17 MOTION to Intervene, filed by Harris County, Texas. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Complaint in separate lawsuit, # 2 Exhibit B - Appendix A)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 12/21/2023)

Dec. 21, 2023

Dec. 21, 2023

PACER
26

RESPONSE to 21 MOTION to Dismiss 20 Amended Complaint/Counterclaim/Crossclaim etc. filed by Octevia Wagner. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order Denying Motion to Dismiss)(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 12/22/2023)

Dec. 22, 2023

Dec. 22, 2023

PACER
27

RESPONSE to 22 MOTION to Sever Plaintiffs' Amended Claims filed by Octevia Wagner. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order Denying Motion to Sever)(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 12/22/2023)

Dec. 22, 2023

Dec. 22, 2023

PACER
28

MOTION to Substitute Plaintiff Zachary Zepeda by Octevia Wagner, filed. Motion Docket Date 1/12/2024. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order on Motion for Substitution of Plaintiff Zachary Zepeda)(Grinke, Paul) (Entered: 12/22/2023)

Dec. 22, 2023

Dec. 22, 2023

PACER
29

REPLY to Response to 17 MOTION to Intervene, filed by Ana Garcia. (Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 12/26/2023)

Dec. 26, 2023

Dec. 26, 2023

PACER
30

ORDER granting 28 Motion to Substitute Plaintiff Zachary Zepeda.(Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified.(KimberlyPicota, 4) (Entered: 12/27/2023)

Dec. 27, 2023

Dec. 27, 2023

PACER
31

REPLY to Response to 22 MOTION to Sever Plaintiffs' Amended Claims, filed by Harris County, Texas. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix A)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 12/29/2023)

Dec. 29, 2023

Dec. 29, 2023

PACER
32

REPLY to Response to 21 MOTION to Dismiss 20 Amended Complaint/Counterclaim/Crossclaim etc., filed by Harris County, Texas. (Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 12/29/2023)

Dec. 29, 2023

Dec. 29, 2023

PACER
33

MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:23-CV-02886 and Member Case No. 4:23-cv-04366 by Ana Garcia, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/28/2024. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 02/07/2024)

Feb. 7, 2024

Feb. 7, 2024

PACER
34

Opposed MOTION to Intervene by Chandra Jenkins, filed. Motion Docket Date 3/8/2024. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint Exhibit A to Motion, # 2 Proposed Order Order to Motion)(Hunter, Taylor) (Entered: 02/16/2024)

1 Complaint Exhibit A to Motion

View on PACER

2 Proposed Order Order to Motion

View on PACER

Feb. 16, 2024

Feb. 16, 2024

PACER
35

RESPONSE in Opposition to 33 MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:23-CV-02886 and Member Case No. 4:23-cv-04366, filed by Harris County, Texas. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Garcia's Original Complaint, # 2 Exhibit B - Chart of Detainee's Alleged Cause of Injury)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 02/28/2024)

2

View on RECAP

Feb. 28, 2024

Feb. 28, 2024

PACER
36

REPLY to Response to 33 MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:23-CV-02886 and Member Case No. 4:23-cv-04366, filed by Ana Garcia. (Acevedo-Carlson, Kevin) (Entered: 03/06/2024)

March 6, 2024

March 6, 2024

PACER
37

RESPONSE in Opposition to 34 Opposed MOTION to Intervene, filed by Harris County, Texas. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Chart of Detainee's Alleged Cause of Injury)(Ulmer, Gregory) (Entered: 03/08/2024)

1

View on RECAP

March 8, 2024

March 8, 2024

PACER
38

REPLY to Response to 34 Opposed MOTION to Intervene, filed by Chandra Jenkins. (Hunter, Taylor) (Entered: 03/14/2024)

March 14, 2024

March 14, 2024

PACER
39

NOTICE of Appearance by Taylor Hunter on behalf of Chandra Jenkins, filed. (Hunter, Taylor) (Entered: 03/14/2024)

March 14, 2024

March 14, 2024

PACER
40

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 34 Opposed MOTION to Intervene, denying as moot 33 MOTION to Consolidate Lead Case No. 4:23-CV-02886 and Member Case No. 4:23-cv-04366, denying 22 MOTION to Sever Plaintiffs' Amended Claims, granting 17 MOTION to Intervene (Signed by Judge Keith P Ellison) Parties notified. (aar4) (Entered: 04/16/2024)

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024

RECAP
41

INTERVENOR COMPLAINT against Harris County, Texas filed by Ana Garcia. (aar4) (Entered: 04/16/2024)

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024

PACER
42

INTERVENOR COMPLAINT against Harris County, Texas filed by Chandra Jenkins. (aar4) (Entered: 04/22/2024)

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Disability Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 7, 2023

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Relatives on behalf of 27 pre-trial detainees who either died or suffered severe injuries in the Harris County Jail in Texas.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Harris County Jail (Harris), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Equal Protection

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General/Misc.:

Aggressive behavior

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Assault/abuse by staff

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary procedures

Failure to discipline

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

Pattern or Practice

Restraints : physical

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Suicide prevention

Disability and Disability Rights:

disability, unspecified

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Mental impairment

Schizophrenia

Discrimination Basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:

Assault/abuse by non-staff (facilities)

Assault/abuse by staff (facilities)

Crowding / caseload

Pepper/OC spray

Sexual abuse by residents/inmates

Medical/Mental Health Care:

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Self-injurious behaviors

Suicide prevention