Case: Glover v. Johnson

2:77-cv-71229 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: May 19, 1977

Closed Date: 2002

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 19, 1977, five named and several unnamed female prisoners at the Detroit House of Corrections filed this class action against the Michigan Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Urban Law, Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services, and Michigan Legal Services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants violated their constitutional rights by failing to…

On May 19, 1977, five named and several unnamed female prisoners at the Detroit House of Corrections filed this class action against the Michigan Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Urban Law, Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services, and Michigan Legal Services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants violated their constitutional rights by failing to provide rehabilitative opportunities to female inmates equal to those provided to male inmates. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged disparities in educational degrees available, vocational courses, library facilities, law library facilities, halfway homes, correctional camps, prison industry, and discrimination in prison wages. They brought the claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

After filing the case, the plaintiffs were moved to the Huron Valley Women's Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

On December 23, 1977, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Judge John Feikens) certified a class of all female prison inmates in Michigan, holding that the inevitable turnover of the state's female inmate population did not preclude class certification, but rather made it advantageous. Glover v. Johnson, 85 F.R.D. 1 (E.D.Mich. Dec. 23, 1977).

On October 25, 1979, Judge Feikens granted declaratory and injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, holding that: 1) the educational and vocational programs offered to female inmates were markedly poorer than those offered to male inmates, and this parity violated their equal protection rights; 2) the record demonstrated the constitutional inadequacy of the assistance given to ensure female inmates could access the courts; and 3) the state's use of a county jail as a temporary overflow facility violated state law. Glover v. Johnson, 478 F.Supp. 1075 (E.D.Mich. 1979).

Three months later, the defendants submitted their plan to comply with the court's orders. On April 6, 1981, after lengthy negotiations between the parties, the court ordered the defendants to: 1) provide the female inmates with a post-secondary education program comparable to that available to male inmates; 2) assist and cooperate in the establishment and operation of a baccalaureate program, ensuring that the female inmates received the same opportunities as the male inmates; 3) give female prisoners the same apprenticeship opportunities provided to male inmates in accordance with the Standards of Apprenticeship agreed upon by the parties; 4) to establish a two prison industries (manufacturing license plate tabs and chair cushions) at Huron Valley by January 1982, paying retroactive and future wages into a trust fund for the prisoners; 5) to review and modify the wage policy in order to ensure that female prisoners received fair wages for their work; 6) keep the law library up to date; and 7) transfer all female inmates at the Kalamazoo County Jail to Camp Pontiac or to Huron Valley within 125 days. The court was to maintain jurisdiction over the case until it was satisfied that the defendants had fully complied. Glover v. Johnson, 510 F.Supp. 1019 (E.D.Mich. 1981).

The plaintiffs asked the court to award them attorneys' fees and expenses for the litigation. On February 3, 1982, Judge Feikens granted the fee award, ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiffs $92,939.32.

The parties then proceeded to litigate about enforcement of the order:

Course Offerings

In 1980, Spring Arbor State College (SASC) began offering baccalaureate courses to male inmates, and the program received state money each year thereafter. None of these services were provided to female inmates, and on January 22, 1986, the plaintiffs in this case asked the court to hold the defendants in contempt and impose sanctions on them for failing to comply with the court's orders. The defendants responded by arranging for SASC to offer baccalaureate courses at Huron Valley, but they refused to provide such services to qualified female inmates residing at the newly opened Florence Crane Correctional Facility ("Crane").

On October 20, 1986, the district court issued an injunction ordering the defendants to provide the courses at both Huron Valley and Crane. After the defendants failed to comply, the plaintiffs asked the court to hold them in contempt of court. On April 21, 1987, the court agreed with the plaintiffs, stating that the “defendants persist[ed] through bureaucratic inertia, intransigence, and resistance in denying female inmates equal education opportunities.” Judge Feikens therefore appointed Dr. Richard Meisler to design and implement educational programs for female inmates on a parity with male inmates. The court gave the administrator full power to contract for educational services with the educational institutions necessary to achieve parity. The court ordered the defendants to bear the cost of the plans designed and implemented by the administrator and barred them from attempting to circumvent the order by reducing the educational programs presently provided to male inmates. The court further ordered that any state officers necessary to provide complete relief pursuant to this order be joined as party defendants to the lawsuit. Glover v. Johnson, 659 F.Supp. 621 (E.D.Mich. 1987). On June 12, 1987, the court supplemented this decision by ordering the defendants to pay the administrator $1000 per week for his work. Glover v. Johnson, 622 F.Supp. 820 (E.D.Mich. 1987). The defendants appealed the entire order.

On September 24, 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Judge Albert Joseph Engel, Judge Gilbert Stroud Merritt, Jr., and Judge James Leo Ryan) vacated the district court's decision and remanded the case. The court held that the issuance of the injunction was not supported by sufficient findings of fact and that the evidence did not support the appointment of an administrator. Glover v. Johnson, 855 F.2d 277 (6th Cir. 1988).

On remand, on September 14, 1989, Judge Feikens again held that an administrator and monitor were necessary to implement the court’s orders. He held the defendants in contempt, detailing extensive findings of fact that led the court to the conclusion that the defendants had failed to implement the court's orders in almost every respect. The court held that the defendants' failure to provide female inmates with the required educational and vocational opportunities required the imposition of both a defendant-appointed administrator to design and implement a remedy and a court-appointed monitor to oversee the progress of the defendants and the administrator. The court then ordered the defendants to appoint the administrator within 60 days and to present the court with a remedial plan. Glover v. Johnson, 721 F.Supp. 808 (E.D.Mich. 1989). The defendants appealed.

On May 30, 1991, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy, Judge George Clifton Edwards, Jr., and Judge James Leo Ryan) affirmed the district court's decision in part and reversed it in part. The court held that: 1) the finding that the prison officials had not used their best efforts to comply with the district court's order was supported by the evidence; 2) that the prison officials should not have been held in contempt for failing to comply with certain measures that were never included in the court's order; and 3) that the prison officials' continuing failure to comply warranted an order requiring them to appoint a special administrator. Glover v. Johnson, 934 F.2d 703 (6th Cir. 1991).

On remand, the defendants submitted a new remedial plan to the district court. The plan provided for remedial action in the areas of paralegal training, paralegal trainee wages, law libraries, associate degree programming, baccalaureate degree programming, off-grounds privileges, and apprenticeships in the areas of medical records, building maintenance, dental assistance, painting, and carpentry.

On December 1, 1993, the defendants informed the district court of their unilateral decision to discontinue the paralegal training program at Crane due to a low level of interest among the inmates. Instead, the defendants planned on transferring the inmates who were interested in the program to another facility where the program would still be offered. The plaintiffs filed an emergency motion asking the court to enjoin the defendants from discontinuing the program. The defendants responded with their own emergency motion. On January 14, 1994, Judge Feikens ordered the defendants to continue to provide the paralegal training classes at Crane as previously ordered. The court further ordered the defendants not to transfer inmates interested in the training program to another facility in order to avoid compliance with the court's orders. Glover v. Johnson, No. 77-CV-71229, 1994 WL 799392 (E.D.Mich. Jan 14, 1994). The defendants appealed. On February 2, 1994, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Glover v. Johnson, Nos. 93-1599, 93-1824, 1994 WL 28808 (6th Cir. Feb. 2, 1994).

State Contract with Prison Legal Services

On February 28, 1994, the defendants allowed the state's contract with Prison Legal Services (who aided the prisoners in child custody matters) to lapse, with no plans to provide further legal assistance to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs asked the district court to hold the defendants in contempt for unilaterally eliminating this legal assistance without asking the court. On April 29, 1994, the district court (Judge Feikens) held the defendants in contempt and granted injunctive relief to the plaintiffs. The court held that the female inmates had a right to legal assistance in this area regardless of their gender, ordering the defendants to provide such assistance and threatening them with contempt penalties if they did not immediately comply. Glover v. Johnson, 850 F.Supp. 592 (E.D.Mich. 1994). The defendants appealed.

On February 14, 1996, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Harry Walker Wellford, Judge David Aldrich Nelson, and Judge Richard Fred Suhrheinrich) reversed the district court's order. The court held that the district court's finding of contempt was an abuse of discretion, because the district court's prior order did not require that the state fund legal assistance in any particular area of law, and that the fundamental right of access to courts did not require the state to provide legal assistance for inmates in connection with child custody matters. Glover v. Johnson, 75 F.3d 264 (6th Cir. 1996). The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, but it denied certiorari.

Prison Litigation Reform Act

On January 23, 1997, the defendants asked the court to immediately terminate the remedial plans and court orders in the case pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). On February 21, 1997, the district court denied the request, holding that the PLRA section in question was unconstitutional as a violation of the principle of separation of powers. Glover v. Johnson, 957 F.Supp. 110 (E.D.Mich. 1997). The defendants moved for reconsideration, which Judge Feikens denied.

Contempt of Court Sanctions

As a way to encourage compliance, the plaintiffs repeatedly asked the court to impose contempt sanctions on the defendants.

Between July 1995 and January 1996, the plaintiffs filed four motions asking the district court to hold the defendants in contempt for failure to comply with the 1991 remedial plan. On July 19, 1996, the district court (Judge Feikens) held the defendants in contempt of the court access, vocational programs, and apprenticeship program provisions. He ordered them to pay $500 per day until they complied with the court's orders regarding access to courts. Beginning on October 1, 1996, the fine would increase to $5000 per day. Glover v. Johnson, 931 F.Supp. 1360 (E.D.Mich. 1996). The defendants appealed.

On March 2, 1998, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Wellford, Judge Ryan, and Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey) partially affirmed and partially reversed the district court's decisions. The court held that the defendants had failed to provide adequate vocational programming, and contempt sanctions as to those failures were appropriate. The court held that the district court had exceeded its authority in applying contempt sanctions as to the other matters. Glover v. Johnson, 138 F.3d 229 (6th Cir. 1998).

On July 7, 1998, the plaintiffs again asked the court to impose contempt sanctions on the defendants. On July 23, 1998, Judge Feikens granted the motion, holding that, although the defendants had made some progress in compliance, sanctions were still warranted for their failure to fully implement vocational programs. Glover v. Johnson, 9 F.Supp.2d 799 (E.D.Mich. 1998). By August 25, 1998, the defendants had paid $300,000 in contempt fines, and on that date, the district court ordered them to pay an additional $85,000. The defendants appealed these fines, asking the Sixth Circuit to order the district court to return the money. On December 8, 1999, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Ralph B. Guy, Jr., Judge Joseph M. Hood, and Judge Danny Julian Boggs) affirmed the district court's award of the contempt sanctions, holding that the award was warranted in light of the defendants' behavior. The court stated that the sanctions were, “a punitive measure designed to force the Department finally to comply with the court’s lawful orders, after years of defiance and delay.” The sanctions appeared to work, as the defendants began following the court’s orders within ten weeks. Glover v. Johnson, 199 F.3d 310 (6th Cir. 1999).

Terminating Jurisdiction

Meanwhile, the defendants sought to remove the role of the compliance monitor. On March 14, 1995, Judge Feikens denied this request, holding that the prison officials’ failure to comply with the remedial plan precluded removing the compliance monitor, and therefore the court’s jurisdiction. Glover v. Johnson, 879 F.Supp. 752 (E.D.Mich. 1995). The defendants appealed.

In a lengthy March 2, 1998 opinion, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Wellford, Judge Ryan, and Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey) vacated and remanded. Glover v. Johnson, 138 F.3d 229 (6th Cir. 1998). On remand, on February 19, 1999, the district court found equal protection compliance in educational, vocational, apprenticeship, and work-pass opportunities. Judge Feikens terminated his jurisdiction over the defendants as to those matters. Nonetheless, he expressed his fear that "termination of [his] jurisdiction over defendants in these matters [would] prompt defendants to immediately discontinue any and all rehabilitative programming for the female inmates and thereby defeat the progress of the past twenty years." Glover v. Johnson, 35 F.Supp.2d 1010 (E.D.Mich. 1999). The plaintiffs appealed, but the Sixth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s opinion. Glover v. Johnson, 198 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 1999).

Current Case Status

Litigation slowed significantly after 1999 but continued as to attorney fees. The docket ends in July 2002, and the case now appears closed.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (11/17/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Boggs, Danny Julian (Kentucky)

Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Tennessee)

Feikens, John (Michigan)

Keith, Damon Jerome (Michigan)

Ryan, James Leo (Michigan)

Wellford, Harry Walker (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Argiroff, Anne L. (Michigan)

Barnhart, Michael J. (Michigan)

Dillman, Jeffrey D. (Ohio)

Field, Julie Kunce (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Boggs, Danny Julian (Kentucky)

Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Tennessee)

Feikens, John (Michigan)

Keith, Damon Jerome (Michigan)

Ryan, James Leo (Michigan)

Wellford, Harry Walker (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Argiroff, Anne L. (Michigan)

Barnhart, Michael J. (Michigan)

Dillman, Jeffrey D. (Ohio)

Field, Julie Kunce (Michigan)

Geer, Martin A. (Michigan)

Kessler, Barbara L. (Michigan)

Magid, Judith E. (Michigan)

Masliansky, Nechama (Michigan)

Raimi, Diana (Michigan)

Snow, Charlene M. (Michigan)

Weiss, Mark E. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Richard M.C. (Michigan)

Barron, Katharyn A. (Michigan)

Blinn, Judith I. (District of Columbia)

Edick, David G. (Michigan)

Friedman, Leo H. (Michigan)

Granholm, Jennifer M. (Michigan)

Harris, Susan A. (Michigan)

Hughes, Theodore E. (Michigan)

Hughey, Steven D. (Michigan)

Kelley, Frank J. (Michigan)

Labelle, Deborah A. (Michigan)

Molner, William E. (Michigan)

Przekop-Shaw, Susan (Michigan)

Roberts, Keith D. (Michigan)

Schmidt, Barbara A. (Michigan)

Triemstra, Duane T. (Michigan)

VanCleve, Janet (Michigan)

Ward, Lisa C. (Michigan)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

July 10, 2002 Docket

Opinion

85 F.R.D. 1

Dec. 23, 1977 Order/Opinion

Opinion

478 F.Supp. 1075

Oct. 25, 1979 Order/Opinion

Final Order

510 F.Supp. 1019

April 6, 1981 Order/Opinion

Opinion Granting Award of Attorney Fees

531 F.Supp. 1036

Feb. 3, 1982 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Opinion and Order

659 F.Supp. 621

April 17, 1987 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Opinion and Order

662 F.Supp. 820

June 12, 1987 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

855 F.2d 277

Aug. 22, 1988 Order/Opinion
517

Memorandum Opinion and Order

721 F.Supp. 808

Sept. 14, 1989 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

934 F.2d 703

May 30, 1991 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Glover v. Johnson: Totality Litigation Against Womens Institutions

Judith Magid

March 1, 1979

Women, the Forgotten Prisoners: Glover v. Johnson

Ruth Diane Lown & Charlene Snow

Jan. 1, 1980

Glover v. Johnson: Judicial Constraint and the Enforcement of Constitutional Rights in Prisons

Name Redacted

This paper examines Glover v. Johnson -- 2:77-cv-71229, 85 F.R.D. 1 (E.D.Mich. Dec. 23, 1977) -- a case where a group of women in the Michigan prison system alleged they were being offered substantia… Jan. 1, 2000

Beyond Parity and Equal Protection: Women Prisoner's Right Litigation in the 1990s

Julie Cho

This paper examines the changing landscape of the women prisoners' rights movement, from mid-1970s to present--describing its shift from predominantly equal protection and Title IX claims to sexual m… May 1, 2000

Reaction and Retrenchment, in The Supreme Court and the Development of Law

Christopher E. Smith

This book illuminates the decision-making processes of the US Supreme court through an examination of several prisoners' rights cases. In 1964, the Supreme Court declined to hear prisoners’ claims ab… Jan. 1, 2016

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 19, 1977

Closing Date: 2002

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All female penal inmates who are now, or may be in the future, incarcerated at the Huron Valley Women's Facility and at the Kalamazoo County Jail.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Michigan Department of Corrections, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

None yet

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 300,000+

Order Duration: 1979 - 1999

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Classification / placement

Education

Law library access

Library (non-law) access

Rehabilitation

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run