Case: In re: Texas Prison Litigation

2:99-cv-04021 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Filed Date: April 4, 2022

Closed Date: 2002

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This was a class-action prisoner lawsuit filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Plaintiffs were Missouri prisoners who were transferred from Missouri state-penal institutions to jails in Texas pursuant to the "Texas Cell Lease Program," a contract between the Missouri Department of Corrections [DOC] and several Texas counties and a city whereby the Texas entities agreed to house and supervise the Missouri prisoners in exchange for money. …

This was a class-action prisoner lawsuit filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Plaintiffs were Missouri prisoners who were transferred from Missouri state-penal institutions to jails in Texas pursuant to the "Texas Cell Lease Program," a contract between the Missouri Department of Corrections [DOC] and several Texas counties and a city whereby the Texas entities agreed to house and supervise the Missouri prisoners in exchange for money. The Texas Cell Lease Program was operational in 1995 through 1997.

Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional rights due to a wide range of conduct including beatings, dog attacks, rapes, and poor conditions of confinement.

The litigation began after the public release of a videotape of an incident that occurred on September 18, 1996, at the Brazoria County Jail, Texas. The video showed non-resistant prisoners being subjected to stun guns, tear gas, physical abuse, body cavity searches and an attack by a German Shepherd. See Kesler v. King, 29 F.Supp.2d 356 (S.D.Tex.1998) (describing the occurrence in the Brazoria County Jail). Correctional officers captured on the video were employees of Brazoria County and Capitol Corrections Resources, Inc. ("CCRI"), a private jail company. A federal criminal investigation ensured and was followed by a flood of over 700 inmate lawsuits in state and federal courts in Missouri and Texas.

Eventually, many of the cases were consolidated for purposes of discovery and pre-trial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Judge Scott O. Wright initially presided over the cases, until they were transferred to Judge Nanette K. Laughrey. A large number of plaintiffs were represented by a group of private attorneys in Missouri.

Protracted discovery and litigation followed. Brazoria County moved to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, but the motion was denied by the District Court (Judge Laughrey). In Re Texas Prison Litigation, 41 F.Supp.2d 960 (W.D.Mo. 1999). The DOC initially took a hard-line stance in the litigation, advising the parties and the Court that it intended to depose every prisoner in the case and that it would not pay any monies towards settlement. Despite the DOC position, the parties engaged in mediation and eventually a reached a tentative settlement.

On July 20, 1999, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in one of the consolidated cases and subsequently filed a joint motion for conditional certification of a settlement class and a joint motion for approval of the settlement. The Class Complaint sought equitable relief, actual, compensatory, and punitive damages, as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. The District Court conditionally certified the class to address all claims arising out of the Texas Cell Lease Program on July 29, 1999. A fairness hearing was held on December 3, 1999.

On January 14, 2000, the District Court approved the Settlement Agreement. The Agreement as modified by the Court called for the payment of $2.2 million by the defendants, with $800,000 being allocated to class counsel and $300,000 for expenses. The remainder was to be divided among three groups of class members according to the nature and severity of their claims. The Agreement contained injunctive relief in the form of limitations to when and under what conditions Missouri prisoners could be transferred out of state and a DOC provision for redressing conduct violations unfairly imposed while the class members were in Texas. The DOC was also enjoined from confiscating all of the monetary relief afforded to the inmates as reimbursement for costs of incarceration pursuant to the Missouri Reimbursement Incarceration Act, §§ 217.825, R.S.Mo. In Re Texas Prison Litigation, 191 F.R.D. 164 (W.D.Mo. 2000).

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (4/7/2009)

People


Judge(s)

Bastian, Michael P. (Missouri)

Knox, William A. (Missouri)

Laughrey, Nanette Kay (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Heidemann, Craig R. (Missouri)

Holt, David T. (Missouri)

Kavanaugh, Paul Fred (Missouri)

Kenner, Nancy Elizabeth (Missouri)

Lafferty, George (Missouri)

Owens, Dennis J. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baker, David S. (Kansas)

Judge(s)

Bastian, Michael P. (Missouri)

Knox, William A. (Missouri)

Laughrey, Nanette Kay (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Heidemann, Craig R. (Missouri)

Holt, David T. (Missouri)

Kavanaugh, Paul Fred (Missouri)

Kenner, Nancy Elizabeth (Missouri)

Lafferty, George (Missouri)

Owens, Dennis J. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baker, David S. (Kansas)

Buckley, Robert J. (Missouri)

Carlson, Frank K. (Missouri)

Conkright, James D. (Missouri)

Cooney, John F. (Missouri)

Corley, M. Corinne (Missouri)

Dalton, Daniel T. (Missouri)

Faddis, Clifford B. (Missouri)

Gray, Richard (Missouri)

Jester, Robert O. (Missouri)

Klement, Lynn J. (Texas)

Knappenberger, James J. (Missouri)

Kurtz, John Wray (Missouri)

McAvoy, Michael (Missouri)

Miller, Amanda K (Texas)

Mingus, Thomas M. (Missouri)

Mollenkamp, John (Missouri)

Nixon, Jeremiah (Jay) W. (Missouri)

Ohlemeyer, Bill (Missouri)

Poland, John P. (Missouri)

Prejean, Henry W. (Texas)

Pritchett, Michael (Missouri)

Protzman, Andrew B. (Kansas)

Purdy, Dan K. (Missouri)

Roberson, Donald (Missouri)

Rohlfing, James (Missouri)

Ryals, Stephen M. (Missouri)

Sarachan, Gary R. (Missouri)

Schaffer, Tony L. (Texas)

Stevens, Richard (Missouri)

Stout, Myra J. (Missouri)

Thompson, Randall D (Missouri)

Vleiside, Gregory W. (Missouri)

Wolf, Mary K. (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

James, Sylvester Jr. (Missouri)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:99-cv-04021

Docket (PACER)

Johnson v. Sykura

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Sept. 19, 2002

Sept. 19, 2002

Docket

2:98-cv-07330

Docket (PACER)

In Re: Limston County v. Texas Prisoner Litigation

May 1, 2007

May 1, 2007

Docket

2:99-cv-04021

2:98-cv-07330

Memorandum and Order Approving Class Settlement and Ordering Payment of Attorney Fee

In Re: Texas Prison Litigation

191 F.R.D. 164

Jan. 14, 1999

Jan. 14, 1999

Order/Opinion

98-07110

98-cv-04201

98-cv-04204

Report and Recommendation

In re Texas Prison Litigation

1999 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11123

Feb. 9, 1999

Feb. 9, 1999

Order/Opinion

98-07110

98-04004

Order

In Re: Texas Prisoner Litigation

41 F.Supp.2d 960

Feb. 12, 1999

Feb. 12, 1999

Order/Opinion

98-07110

98-cv-04090

98-cv-04091

98-cv-04094

98-cv-04101

Opinion

In re Texas Prison Litigation

1999 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11120

Feb. 17, 1999

Feb. 17, 1999

Order/Opinion

2:99-cv-04021

Texas Inmate Litigation Settlement Agreement

In Re: Texas Prisoner Litigation

June 23, 1999

June 23, 1999

Settlement Agreement

2:99-cv-04021

Texas Inmate Settlement Fund Agreement

In Re: Texas Prisoner Litigation

June 23, 1999

June 23, 1999

Settlement Agreement
96

2:99-cv-04021

Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement

In Re: Texas Prisoner Litigation

June 25, 1999

June 25, 1999

Pleading / Motion / Brief
427

2:99-cv-04021

Memorandum and Order Approving Class settlement and Ordering Payment of Attorney Fee

In Re: Texas Prisoner Litigation

Jan. 14, 2000

Jan. 14, 2000

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 22, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 4, 2022

Closing Date: 2002

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All Missouri inmates transferred to Texas from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1997, pursuant to the Texas Cell Lease Program.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Missouri Department of Corrections, State

Capitol Corrections Resources, Inc. ("CCRI"), Private Entity/Person

Brazoria County Jail, County

Transcor America, Inc., Private Entity/Person

The Bobby Ross Group, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Dove Development, Corp., Private Entity/Person

Gregg County Jail, County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 2.2 million

Order Duration: 2000 - None

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Assault/abuse by staff

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary procedures

Excessive force

Restraints : chemical

Restraints : physical

Sanitation / living conditions

Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff

Strip search policy

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Non-government for profit