Case: Lovell v. Brennan

2:79-cv-00076 | U.S. District Court for the District of Maine

Filed Date: March 23, 1979

Closed Date: June 22, 1983

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, was consolidated with two other cases, Maine State Prison et al v. Mental Health & Corr., No. 79-8, brought on behalf of all inmates in protective custody and Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay…

Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, was consolidated with two other cases, Maine State Prison et al v. Mental Health & Corr., No. 79-8, brought on behalf of all inmates in protective custody and Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, No. 78-90, PC-ME-004, brought on behalf of all MSP inmates who had been or might be confined in administrative segregation

On June 22, 1983, Judge Edward Gignoux issued an opinion and order in the three cases, finding the claims related to administrative segregation meritorious, but rejecting the other challenges. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp. 672 (D.Me. 1983), which was affirmed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Lovell v. Brennan, 728 F.2d 560 (1st Cir. 1984).

While finding that overall conditions of confinement did not violate inmates' rights, in his ruling, Judge Gignoux concluded that the procedures for assigning inmates to administrative segregation violated the terms of the 1973 consent decree and that the prison's use of restraint cells was ""so inhumane"" that it violated the 8th and 14th Amendments (the small, windowless cells had no internal lighting or heat and were completely barren, except for a hole in the floor which served as a toilet, which could not be flushed from inside the cell). The court issued an order barring further violations in those areas. The Court, dismissing the remaining claims, found that the other conditions of confinement the inmates complained of had improved substantially since the filing of the lawsuit and did not currently violate the constitution or the consent decree. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp at 677. The court noted, however, that the prison conditions improved only because of the lawsuit and only to the minimum extent required by law. Subsequently, attorneys sought fees. Judge Gignoux concluded that because the plaintiffs had succeeded on the major claims of their case, that they were considered ""prevailing parties"" and should be awarded attorneys fees. Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, 590 F.Supp. 979 (D.Me. 1984).

The docket sheet indicates that a full docket and proceedings for the cases are not available on PACER.

Summary Authors

Denise Lieberman (10/23/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Bownes, Hugh Henry (New Hampshire)

Breyer, Stephen Gerald (District of Columbia)

Coffin, Frank Morey (Maine)

Gignoux, Edward Thaxter (Maine)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)

Davidson, R. James (Maine)

Geores, Martha E. (Maine)

Klein, Edward (Maine)

Thibeault, Paul G. (Maine)

Woodruff, Neville (Maine)

Judge(s)

Bownes, Hugh Henry (New Hampshire)

Breyer, Stephen Gerald (District of Columbia)

Coffin, Frank Morey (Maine)

Gignoux, Edward Thaxter (Maine)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)

Davidson, R. James (Maine)

Geores, Martha E. (Maine)

Klein, Edward (Maine)

Thibeault, Paul G. (Maine)

Woodruff, Neville (Maine)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Laubenstein, William H. III (Maine)

Ogilvie, Gail (Maine)

Tierney, James E. (Maine)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:79-cv-00076

Docket (PACER)

Lovell v. Corrections

June 22, 1983

June 22, 1983

Docket

2:79-cv-00076

79-00008

78-00090

Opinion and Order of the Court

566 F.Supp. 672, 1983 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16057

June 22, 1983

June 22, 1983

Order/Opinion

83-01572

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

728 F.2d 560, 1984 U.S.App.LEXIS 24967

Feb. 29, 1984

Feb. 29, 1984

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 14, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Maine

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 23, 1979

Closing Date: June 22, 1983

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Maine State Prison (Thomaston), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1983 - None

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Restraints : physical

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run