Case: John Doe v. District of Columbia

1:79-cv-01726 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: July 3, 1979

Closed Date: 2002

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 3, 1979, inmates at the Lorton Maximum Security Facility in Lorton, Virginia, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by exposure to the danger of violent assault and sexual abuse, understaffing, insufficient security procedures, inadequate classification pr…

On July 3, 1979, inmates at the Lorton Maximum Security Facility in Lorton, Virginia, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by exposure to the danger of violent assault and sexual abuse, understaffing, insufficient security procedures, inadequate classification procedures, and poor physical facilities.

The case was submitted to a jury, who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The jury awarded to each member of the class one dollar for each day of their confinement between July 4, 1976 and June 20, 1980. The district court (Judge William B. Bryant) supplemented that award with an injunction designed to ameliorate the conditions of confinement at the facility. The defendants appealed.

On January 11, 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Judge June L. Green) reversed and remanded the case, holding that: 1) the district court had abused its discretion in issuing a protective order forbidding disclosure by the defense counsel to defendants of information of specified sorts obtained during discovery; 2) the trial judge erred by not giving the jury an instruction foreclosing an interpretation of plaintiffs' counsel's closing argument that might have implied that the District of Columbia was legally responsible for the consequences of unauthorized actions of individual prison guards; and 3) the trial court committed reversible error in granting jury permission to compensate the prisoners for the value of their violated constitutional rights. Doe v. District of Columbia, 697 F.2d 1115 (D.D.C. 1983). Separate statements by Judges McKinnon, Edwards and Robb relative to this decision were subsequently filed. Doe v. District of Columbia, 701 F.2d 948 D.D.C. 1983)

On August 13, 1986, the district court (Judge Green) issued an order setting population caps for the prisons in question in the case. The defendants asked the court to stay the order, and on May 20, 1987, the court temporarily stayed the order pending further investigation. Doe v. District of Columbia, Nos. 79-1726, 80-2136, 86-2128, 1987 WL 11422 (D.D.C. May 20, 1987). On June 30, 1987, the district court further stayed the order. Doe v. District of Columbia, Nos. 79-1726, 80-2136, 86-2128, 1987 WL 13350 (D.D.C. June 30, 1987).

At some point before 1989, the parties entered into a partial consent decree in the case. On July 26, 1996, the parties entered into another consent decree concerning medical and mental healthcare for the prisoners and the court approved it.

On May 6, 2002, the defendants informed the district court that the facility in question had been permanently closed and asked the court to dismiss the case. On May 7, 2002, the district court (Judge William B. Bryant) granted the motion and dismissed the case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (9/29/2006)

Related Cases

Inmates of Occoquan v. Barry, District of Columbia (1986)

U.S. v. District of Columbia, District of Columbia (1988)

People


Judge(s)

Bryant, William Benson (District of Columbia)

Edwards, Harry Thomas (District of Columbia)

Green, June Lazenby (District of Columbia)

MacKinnon, George Edward (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adams, Stuart H. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Bass, Ellen S (New Jersey)

Fisher, Joseph M. (District of Columbia)

Kindall, Clare E. (Connecticut)

Kolb, Charles E.M. (District of Columbia)

Labson, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Bryant, William Benson (District of Columbia)

Edwards, Harry Thomas (District of Columbia)

Green, June Lazenby (District of Columbia)

MacKinnon, George Edward (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adams, Stuart H. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Bass, Ellen S (New Jersey)

Fisher, Joseph M. (District of Columbia)

Kindall, Clare E. (Connecticut)

Kolb, Charles E.M. (District of Columbia)

Labson, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Lasker, Eric G. (District of Columbia)

Nickles, Peter J. (District of Columbia)

Pemberton, Alan A. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Facciola, John M. (District of Columbia)

Love, Richard Stuart (District of Columbia)

Quander, Paul A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Reischel, Charles L. (District of Columbia)

Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (District of Columbia)

Schwab, Edward E. (District of Columbia)

Sutton, David P. (District of Columbia)

Utiger, Robert C. (District of Columbia)

Zielinski, Michael Edward (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Hacala, Martin G. (District of Columbia)

Lopes, Grace Michele (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Doe v. U.S.

June 26, 2003 Docket

Separate Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

701 F.2d 948

Jan. 28, 1983 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

697 F.2d 1115

March 7, 1983 Order/Opinion

Order

Aug. 13, 1986 Order/Opinion

Order

1987 WL 11422

May 20, 1987 Order/Opinion

Order

1987 WL 13350

June 30, 1987 Order/Opinion
495

Consent Order

July 25, 1996 Order/Opinion
496

Consent Motion for the adoption of a Consent Order concerning systemwide medical and mental health care

July 26, 1996 Pleading / Motion / Brief
678

Consent Order

May 7, 2002 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 3, 1979

Closing Date: 2002

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates at the Lorton Maximum Security Facility in Lorton, Virginia

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

District of Columbia (District of Columbia, District of Columbia), Regional

Occoquan I, II, III, Regional

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1996 - 2002

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Assault/abuse by staff

Classification / placement

Disciplinary procedures

Fire safety

Funding

Personal injury

Sanitation / living conditions

Sexual abuse by residents/inmates

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run