Case: Harris v. McCarthy

2:81-cv-06429 | U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Filed Date: Dec. 22, 1981

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Case Summary

On December 22, 1981, the plaintiffs, past and present inmates at the California Men's Colony (CMC), filed suit against prison officials in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief for violations of their civil rights. The plaintiffs specifically sought: to enjoin the defendants from allowing inmates to use toxic products in their cells; to require the defendants to provide safety equipment and proper ventil…

On December 22, 1981, the plaintiffs, past and present inmates at the California Men's Colony (CMC), filed suit against prison officials in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief for violations of their civil rights. The plaintiffs specifically sought: to enjoin the defendants from allowing inmates to use toxic products in their cells; to require the defendants to provide safety equipment and proper ventilation throughout the CMC, particularly in the CMC Shoe Factory; to compel the defendants' compliance with health and safety regulations; to enjoin the defendants from interfering with the plaintiffs' legal correspondence; and to obtain monetary relief for injuries or death resulting from exposure to harmful materials.

On December 21, 1982, the District Court (Judge Edward Rafeedie) issued a preliminary injunction restricting the distribution of the harmful products in residential areas, and enjoining the defendants from interfering with the plaintiffs' legal correspondence.

On July 2, 1984, the plaintiffs moved to dismiss the case so that they could bring a single trial of all the issues in state court. The District Court granted the motion without prejudice, and dissolved the preliminary injunction. By this time, the defendants had improved the CMC Shoe Factory by installing new vents, repairing equipment, posting warnings, and procuring organic masks for use by inmates.

On October 1, 1984, the plaintiffs filed a Section 1988 motion for attorney's fees. The District Court awarded the plaintiffs partial attorney's fees, including $26,275.00 for the preliminary injunction and $2,910.05 for the Section 1988 motion. The District Court rejected the plaintiffs' request for additional attorney's fees on their claim that the suit had been the cause of change in the CMC Shoe Factory. Plaintiffs appealed.

In 1986, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judges Eugene A. Wright, Dorothy W. Nelson, and Alex Kozinski) affirmed. Writing for the court, Judge Nelson held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in declining to award attorney's fees under the ""catalyst-for-change"" theory on the basis of its determination that the issue was not ripe, where the plaintiffs' claims for injunctive relief and damages were being pursued in state court. Harris v. McCarthy, 790 F.2d 753 (9th Cir. 1986).

The docket for this case is unavailable on PACER so we have no information as to subsequent proceedings or any other issue.

Summary Authors

Chris Sullivan (8/20/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Nelson, Dorothy Wright (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Greenberg, Ronald M. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Harrel, John (California)

Roeschke, Donald (California)

Judge(s)

Nelson, Dorothy Wright (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Greenberg, Ronald M. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Harrel, John (California)

Roeschke, Donald (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

85-06028

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

790 F.2d 753

May 27, 1986

May 27, 1986

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 20, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 22, 1981

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

past and present inmates at California Men's Colony

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

California Men's Colony, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1981 - 1986

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Mail

Personal injury

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run