Case: Spears v. Johnson

1:87-cv-00829 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama

Filed Date: Aug. 17, 1987

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Case Summary

Sometime before 1987, an inmate in the Alabama prison system filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Alabama Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The plaintiff asked the court for injunctive relief and damages, alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated by the general conditions of his confinement.For the previous decade, a class action lawsuit had been pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle Distr…

Sometime before 1987, an inmate in the Alabama prison system filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Alabama Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The plaintiff asked the court for injunctive relief and damages, alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated by the general conditions of his confinement.

For the previous decade, a class action lawsuit had been pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama challenging conditions of confinement at Alabama penal institutions. The plaintiff in this case, an Alabama inmate, was a member of the plaintiff class in the class action, Pugh v. Locke, PC-AL-0010. That case resulted in a consent decree in 1984 over which the Middle District of Alabama retained jurisdiction, and under which the defendants in this case alleged plaintiffs' claims fell. In 1987, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (Judge William Brevard Hand) dismissed plaintiffs' petition without prejudice to allow him to present the claim to an oversight committee that oversaw implementation of the consent decree. The plaintiff appealed.

On October 19, 1988, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Judges James C. Hill, Phyllis A. Kravitch, and James L. Edmondson) issued a per curiam opinion vacating the district court's decision and reinstating the plaintiff's petition. Spears v. Johnson, 859 F.3d 853 (11th Cir. 1988). The court then transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, where the class action was pending.

On June 21, 1989, the Eleventh Circuit (Judges Hill, Kravitch, and Edmondson) issued another opinion, ruling that their earlier decision was based upon an incorrect premise, as the case in the Middle District Court (with which they ordered this case to be merged) had already closed. They then ordered that this case should be sent back down to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Spears v. Johnson, 876 F.2d 1485 (11th Cir. 1989).

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (9/27/2006)

Related Cases

Pugh v. Locke, Middle District of Alabama (1974)

People


Judge(s)

Edmondson, James Larry (Georgia)

Hill, James Clinkscales (Florida)

Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Georgia)

Milling, Bert W. Jr. (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bjurberg, P. David (Alabama)

Siegelman, Don (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Edmondson, James Larry (Georgia)

Hill, James Clinkscales (Florida)

Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Georgia)

Milling, Bert W. Jr. (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bjurberg, P. David (Alabama)

Siegelman, Don (Alabama)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Dec. 28, 1989 Docket

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

859 F.2d 853

Oct. 19, 1988 Order/Opinion

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

876 F.2d 1485

June 21, 1989 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Alabama

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 17, 1987

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Alabama inmate alleging unconstitutional conditions of his confinement

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Alabama Department of Corrections, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Totality of conditions

Type of Facility:

Government-run