Case: Jensen v. Klecker

1:78-01063 | U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota

Filed Date: July 28, 1978

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Inmates of the North Dakota State Penitentiary brought suit as pro se plaintiffs under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. Originally, five separate actions were filed but these were later consolidated into one comprehensive complaint. The consolidated complaint alleged that state prison officials refused to reimburse inmates for money earned through an inmate operated prison concession stand and that prison officials routinely opened inmates' incoming a…

Inmates of the North Dakota State Penitentiary brought suit as pro se plaintiffs under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. Originally, five separate actions were filed but these were later consolidated into one comprehensive complaint. The consolidated complaint alleged that state prison officials refused to reimburse inmates for money earned through an inmate operated prison concession stand and that prison officials routinely opened inmates' incoming and outgoing mail. The inmates sought damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. The District Court (Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle) dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (per curiam) reversed and remanded the case, holding that reliance by the District Court upon an affidavit outside the pleadings without treating defendants' motion to dismiss the civil rights complaint as a motion for summary judgment and without giving plaintiffs notice of its intent to do so was prejudicial, even though plaintiffs were notified by a local rule to submit briefs in opposition to the motion within ten days. Jensen v. Klecker, 599 F.2d 243 (8th Cir. 1979). The Court of Appeals noted that the plaintiffs' attempt to refute the affidavit by ""exhibits"" (materials not presented to the District Court but filed on appeal) indicated that they might well have taken advantage of a meaningful opportunity to oppose the affidavit.

On remand, the District Court reviewed exhibits and affidavits submitted by the parties, and Judge Van Sickle granted summary judgment in favor of the prison officials. The Court of Appeals (per curiam) affirmed in part and reversed in part by holding that privileged prisoner mail (mailed to or from the inmate's attorney and identified as such) could not be opened for inspections for contraband except in the presence of the prisoner. Jensen v. Klecker, 648 F.2d 1179 (8th Cir. 1981). The Court of Appeals also held that the mere inspection of nonlegal incoming and outgoing mail posed no threat to the civil rights of the inmates.

In connection with the claim that his legal mail was being opened by prison officials, one of the inmates, Herbert O. Jensen, filed liens on the personal and real property of the defendant state prison officials to ""protect his rights."" The prison officials submitted a motion to remove the liens and requested the court to assess damages. The District Court ordered Jensen to release all the liens he had filed and prohibited him from filing further liens without court approval. The District Court denied the prison officials' motion for damages. The Court of Appeals (per curiam) affirmed the judgment of the District Court, finding that the Court had not abused its discretion. Jensen v. Klecker, 702 F.2d 131 (8th Cir. 1983).

The docket for this case was not available on PACER, and accordingly, we do not have further information on the case.

Summary Authors

Tom Madison (4/8/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Fagg, George Gardner (Iowa)

Henley, Jesse Smith (Missouri)

Lay, Donald Pomery (Minnesota)

McMillian, Theodore (Missouri)

Ross, Donald Roe (Nebraska)

Stephenson, Roy Laverne (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brady, Robert P. (North Dakota)

Zuern, Edwin F. (North Dakota)

Judge(s)

Fagg, George Gardner (Iowa)

Henley, Jesse Smith (Missouri)

Lay, Donald Pomery (Minnesota)

McMillian, Theodore (Missouri)

Ross, Donald Roe (Nebraska)

Stephenson, Roy Laverne (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brady, Robert P. (North Dakota)

Zuern, Edwin F. (North Dakota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

79-01124

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

599 F.2d 243, 1979 U.S.App.LEXIS 14722

May 14, 1979

May 14, 1979

Order/Opinion

80-02167

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

648 F.2d 1179, 1981 U.S.App.LEXIS 13247

May 15, 1981

May 15, 1981

Order/Opinion

82-02290

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

702 F.2d 131, 1983 U.S.App.LEXIS 29794

March 10, 1983

March 10, 1983

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 12, 2022, 3:12 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: North Dakota

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 28, 1978

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Inmates at the North Dakota State Penitentiary alleging their constitutional rights were violated in the way their mail was opened by prison officials

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Unknown

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

North Dakota State Penitentiary, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1981 - None

Issues

General:

Loss or damage to property

Mail

Type of Facility:

Government-run