Case: Taifa v. Bayh

3:92-cv-00429 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

Filed Date: May 6, 1992

Closed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 6, 1992, inmates at the Maximum Control Complex in Westville, Indiana (MCC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the Governor of Indiana, and the State Department of Corrections (DOC), in Marion County Superior Court. The plaintiffs, filing pro se and subsequently represented by ACLU of Indiana, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, complaining that conditions and practices at the prison violated their Eighth and Fourteenth Ame…

On May 6, 1992, inmates at the Maximum Control Complex in Westville, Indiana (MCC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the Governor of Indiana, and the State Department of Corrections (DOC), in Marion County Superior Court. The plaintiffs, filing pro se and subsequently represented by ACLU of Indiana, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, complaining that conditions and practices at the prison violated their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged long term solitary confinement; arbitrary and irrational rules; physical abuse; denial of visitation; inadequate medical, and mental health care; inadequate educational, vocational training, recreational, and rehabilitative programs. Upon motion by the defendants, the case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on May 29, 1992, and ultimately transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on July 7, 1992.

After consolidating this case with several others, the Court (Chief Judge Allen Sharp) on September 22, 1992 referred the case to Magistrate Judge Robin D. Pierce for settlement conference. Several conferences were held, and a settlement agreement was reached between the two parties.

Approval of the settlement

On January 5, 1994, Judge Pierce submitted his report and recommendation that the Court approve the Agreed Entry (AE) reached by the parties. On February 11, the Court (Judge Sharp), noting that the AE went well beyond constitutional minima, adopted the report and recommendation, approved and entered the AE. Taifa v. Bayh, 846 F. Supp 723 (N.D. Ind. 1994). It went into effect on February 15, 1994. Several inmates appealed the matter despite recommendations by the court that they would not get a better settlement for injunctive relief.

The AE provided for: the assignment of prisoners out of the MCC only under specified conditions; the transfer of prisoners out of the MCC after a specified period of time, provided that certain conditions are met; a commissary at the MCC, with a list of particular items to be made available; inmate access to radios and televisions under specified conditions and at inmate expense; expanded visitation and telephone privileges; the availability of additional reading materials for prisoners; increased opportunities for prisoner recreation; increased privileges with respect to keeping of personal property in cells and in the storage room; improvements in the condition of bedding; a decrease in the intensity of the 24-hour lights in the cells; additional access by prisoners to personal hygienic items; the establishment of a policy concerning the use of force by DOC personnel; expanded provisions for medical care, including mandatory psychiatric evaluations for all prisoners upon their admittance to the MCC; an expanded law library containing specified reference materials, and provisions for greater access to legal materials by prisoners; increased educational opportunities for prisoners; a substance abuse program; and improvements in inmate grievance procedures. Taifa v. Bayh, 846 F. Supp 723 (N.D. Ind. 1994).

On September 9, 1994, the Court (Judge Sharp) granted a motion by plaintiffs for attorney's fees. After Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey conducted conferences on the matter, he issued a report and recommendation on November 30, 1994, that the order granting fees be vacated. Pursuant to the Seventh Circuit granting appeal on December 12, 1994, the Court (Judge Sharp) vacated the order granting fees to the plaintiffs' attorneys as moot on December 21, 1994.

On February 5, 1996, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner) affirmed the District Court's acceptance of the AE. This was the Seventh Circuit's review of Judge Sharp's February 11, 1994 order, which was appealed by several of the individual plaintiffs. The Seventh Circuit found that there was no abuse of discretion by the District Court and held that the AE was not defeated by allegedly unlawful provisions, and could reasonably be found to be fair and adequate relief. Isby v. Bayh, 75 F.3d 1191 (7th Cir. 1996).

Enforcement of the settlement

By May 16, 1994, the Court had received several (and in some cases duplicate) motions for contempt by one of the prisoners. At that time, Judge Sharp issued an order denying all such motions. The motions by the inmate increased in frequency and duplicity until October 24, 1994, when Magistrate Judge Pierce issued a report and recommendation that all of the inmate's motions and objections be denied, and that he be barred from submitting any more before the Court. The inmate was allowed to make motions only when he also presented a sworn affidavit listing the names, dates, and specific allegations, and that the matter had not been previously submitted to the court. The Court (Judge Sharp) accepted the report and recommendation on November 4, 1994. Taifa v. Bayh, 867 F. Supp 799 (N.D. Ind. 1994).

On August 22, 1995, the Court (Judge Sharp) issued an order regarding the contempt motions filed by several of the inmates in the previous year. On April 6, 1995, several alleged violations of the AE were remedied, and the remaining violations were consolidated to 6 issues before the court. They dealt with: conduct board hearings; law clerks for prisoners with special needs; law library visits, and legal materials for prisoners in disciplinary segregation; availability of prisoner's handbook; classification; and fruit juice availability at the commissary. The Court (Judge Sharp) accepted the report and recommendation of Magistrate Judge Pierce, and denied the contempt motions regarding fruit juice and circulation of the handbook, but granted the other four. Taifa v. Bayh, No. 3:92-cv-0429 AS, 1995 WL 646300 (N.D. Ind. Aug. 22, 1995). Some inmates appealed the matter.

One of the motions referenced in the August 22, 1995, order was a motion for contempt or in the alternative preliminary injunction regarding the placement of the one of the prisoner plaintiffs felt was in the MCC in violation of the AE. On September 26, 1995, the Court (Judge Sharp) denied this motion. The court found that--notwithstanding the settlement terms that required more--the prisoner had no constitutional liberty interest in more process than he was afforded. Taifa v. Bayh, No. 3:92-cv-0429 AS, 1995 WL 803816 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 26, 1995).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Kenneth Francis Ripple) reversed and remanded the District Court's two contempt orders in September 1996. On appeal, the defendants argued that because portions of the AE incorporated Indiana State Law, the Eleventh Amendment did not permit a Federal Court to order compliance with state law, and thus review was inappropriate. The Seventh Circuit (Judge Ripple) disagreed, and found that the AE only borrowed relevant definitions from the state law, and did not rely on state law for enforcement. Komyatti v. Bayh, 96 F.3d 955 (7th Cir. 1996). The Court reversed the August 22, 1995 order of the District Court denying two of the six contempt motions, and remanded the case for proceedings consistent.

Damage actions

The plaintiffs litigated damages pro se, and individually. On June 6, 1996, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana disposed of an individual plaintiff's damages claims against the defendants. The Court (Magistrate Judge Pierce) found that the plaintiff's claims were unclear as to whether damages occurred before or after the February 15, 1994 AE went into effect, making them possibly moot. The complaint and hearings were also unclear about who was actually injured, as several witnesses talked about their own injuries, not those of the individually complaining inmate. The Court found no actual constitutional damages claim either. Judge Pierce recommended that the Eleventh Amendment should bar individual damages suit against the defendants in their official capacities, and since the plaintiff made no specific complaint to any defendant in his or her individual capacity, the complaint should be held moot. Taifa v. Bayh, No. 3:92-cv-0429 AS, 1996 WL 441809 (N.D. Ind. June 6, 1996). On July 24, 1996, Chief Judge Sharp adopted and ordered the report and recommendation. Isby v. Bayh, No. 3:92-cv-0429 AS, 1996 WL 441820 (N.D. Ind. July 24, 1996).

Modification of the Settlement

According to the Human Rights Watch Report Cold Storage, in October 1996, the Indiana DOC obtained a modification of the Agreed Entry to permit it to turn three-quarters of the prison (renamed the MCF) into a facility housing inmates serving long-term disciplinary sentences from around the state. In order to secure plaintiffs' consent to the modification of the Agreed Entry, the State agreed that treatment of disciplinary segregation inmates at the MCF would be softer than such prisoners would receive elsewhere. For example, the modified Agreed Entry required two hours of recreation per day for disciplinary segregation inmates at the MCF, compared to the half hour per day then provided at the alternative Secure Housing Unit.

On September 12, 1997, the Court (Judge Sharp) reaffirmed the disposal of injunctive claims pursuant to the partial judgment of February 15, 1994. Then, on December 18, 1997, the Court denied a non-party plaintiff's complaint of violation of the AE regarding limitations on shower time, law library access time, and recreation time. Various inmates filed more motions for contempt and all were denied.

Termination of prospective relief

On August 7, 2003, the defendants filed a motion to terminate all prospective relief granted and approved so far. On October 27, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (Judge Sharp) granted the motion to terminate relief pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), disposed of all motions before the Court, and terminated the case.

On May 1, 2006, class member Eric D. Smith filed a pro se motion for contempt against defendants alleging several violations of the AE. On May 3, 2006, the defendants responded to the contempt motion by noting that the case and the AE had been terminated and thus there was not an existing order in place for the court to enforce. Smith replied by alleging that he was never given notice of the October 27, 2003 termination order, and prayed for relief from the court against the resurgence of old practices at the MCC. Following a hearing on September 11, 2006, the District Court (Judge Sharp) denied Smith's contempt motion as moot. Another non-party class member filed a pro se motion for contempt on July 30, 2009. Within the week, the District Court denied the motion, referring the potential class member to class counsel.

The case is closed.

Summary Authors

Greg Venker (3/6/2007)

Maurice Youkanna (7/16/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Allen, Charles Mengel (Kentucky)

Coffey, John Louis (Wisconsin)

Cummings, Walter Joseph (Illinois)

Flaum, Joel Martin (Illinois)

Pierce, Robin D. (Indiana)

Ripple, Kenneth Francis (Indiana)

Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (Illinois)

Sharp, Allen (Indiana)

Simon, Philip P. (Indiana)

Wood, Diane Pamela (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Allen, Charles Mengel (Kentucky)

Coffey, John Louis (Wisconsin)

Cummings, Walter Joseph (Illinois)

Flaum, Joel Martin (Illinois)

Pierce, Robin D. (Indiana)

Ripple, Kenneth Francis (Indiana)

Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (Illinois)

Sharp, Allen (Indiana)

Simon, Philip P. (Indiana)

Wood, Diane Pamela (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Buckman, Sheila (Indiana)

Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)

Finlayson, Craig R. (Indiana)

Hardy, Scott (Indiana)

Hillman, Peggy A. (Indiana)

Isby, Aaron (Indiana)

Kashani, Hamid R. (Indiana)

Morse, Franklin A. II (Michigan)

Palmer, Robert J. (Indiana)

Waples, Richard A. (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Arthur, David A. (Indiana)

Carter, Pamela (Indiana)

Fogle, Andrew J. (Indiana)

Johnson, Carl L. (Indiana)

Koester, Randall (Indiana)

Lahn, Seth M. (Indiana)

Lipton, Suzann W. (Indiana)

Lupton, Suzann W. (Indiana)

Outlaw, Ricky (Indiana)

Stahl, Jerry (Indiana)

Uhl, Wayne Elliott (Indiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:92-cv-00429

Docket [PACER]

Dec. 21, 2009

Dec. 21, 2009

Docket

49D07-9205-CP-498

Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint

Indiana state trial court

May 22, 1992

May 22, 1992

Complaint
131

3:92-cv-00429

Order

846 F.Supp. 723

Feb. 11, 1994

Feb. 11, 1994

Order/Opinion

3:92-cv-00429

Agreed Entry

March 31, 1994

March 31, 1994

Settlement Agreement
304

3:92-cv-00429

Order

1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 20514

June 28, 1994

June 28, 1994

Order/Opinion

3:92-cv-00429

Order Vacating Order of September 9, 1994

868 F.Supp. 237

Sept. 9, 1994

Sept. 9, 1994

Order/Opinion
451

3:92-cv-00429

Memorandum and Order

867 F.Supp. 799

Nov. 8, 1994

Nov. 8, 1994

Order/Opinion
580

3:92-cv-00429

Report and Recommendation

1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 20195

July 5, 1995

July 5, 1995

Order/Opinion
591

3:92-cv-00429

Report and Recommendation

1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16494

July 20, 1995

July 20, 1995

Order/Opinion
607

3:92-cv-00429

Order

Faifa v. Bayh

1995 WL 646300, 1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16498

Aug. 22, 1995

Aug. 22, 1995

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 20, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Indiana

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Solitary confinement

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 6, 1992

Closing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All persons who, as of May 4, 1992, are confined or will be confined in the Maximum Control Complex in Westville, Indiana.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Indiana, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1994 - 2003

Content of Injunction:

Recordkeeping

Monitoring

Preliminary relief denied

Reporting

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Administrative segregation

Assault/abuse by staff

Bathing and hygiene

Classification / placement

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Education

Excessive force

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Law library access

Library (non-law) access

Mail

Phone

Record-keeping

Recreation / Exercise

Rehabilitation

Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Visiting

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run