Case: Dean v. Coughlin

1:84-cv-01528 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: March 2, 1984

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1984, female inmates at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The inmates, represented by attorneys from the New York Legal Aid Society's Prisoners' Rights Project, alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by poor dental care at the prison, and they asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. …

In 1984, female inmates at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The inmates, represented by attorneys from the New York Legal Aid Society's Prisoners' Rights Project, alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by poor dental care at the prison, and they asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief.

On August 29, 1985, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Shirley Wohl Kram) certified the plaintiffs as a class, holding that declaratory and injunctive relief was appropriate to the class as a whole. Dean v. Coughlin, 107 F.R.D. 331 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 1985).

On December 3, 1985, district court (Judge Kram) granted a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs, ordering the defendants to provide adequate dental care to inmates with serious dental needs. Specifically, the court ordered the defendants to provide a dental access system assuring prompt diagnosis and treatment for inmates with serious dental needs, timely follow-up care, and elimination of backlogs in treatment. Refusing to be more specific regarding the terms of the injunction, the court stated its expectation that the defendants and plaintiffs would work out terms for compliance with this injunction. Dean v. Coughlin, 623 F.Supp. 392 (S.D.N.Y. 1985).

On April 1, 1986, the district court (Judge Kram) issued a more detailed order implementing the preliminary injunction, noting that the defendants had failed to even attempt to improve dental services at Bedford Hills. The court required that a priority system must be set for dental care and that all inmates be given an opportunity to have a dental examination to determine their treatment priorities. The court further laid out requirements for a dental sick-call system, an appointment and follow-up system, treatment deadlines for non-emergency patients, dental emergency procedures, dental record keeping, and reporting. Dean v. Coughlin, 633 F.Supp. 308 (S.D.N.Y. 1986). The defendants appealed.

On October 28, 1986, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Judge Walter Roe Mansfield, Judge Amalya Lyle Kearse, and Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr.) vacated the district court's decision and remanded the case, holding that the district court had abused its discretion by specifying in detail the system of dental care to be provided. The circuit court reasoned that the district court should have instead used the New York State Department of Corrections' plan as a guide, subject to minor modifications. Dean v. Coughlin, 804 F.2d 207 (2nd Cir. 1986).

On February 26, 1987, the parties entered into a settlement, which the district court (Judge Kram) approved as a consent decree on June 17, 1987. The consent decree provided for dental care regulations in the areas of treatment priorities, dental emergencies, dental sick call, follow-up care, staffing, record-keeping, and compliance supervision.

In 1988, the defendants informed the plaintiffs that the plaintiffs' expert, a dentist named Dr. William Byland, was illegally practicing dentistry because he was not licensed to practice in New York. The plaintiffs asked the district court for a protective order to enjoin the defendants from prosecuting Byland on criminal charges, arguing that the defendants had attempted to intimidate him by threatening criminal prosecution. On July 12, 1989, the district court (Judge Kram) denied the plaintiffs' motion, holding that there was insufficient evidence to find that the defendants had attempted to intimidate or prosecute Byland. Dean v. Coughlin, 1989 WL 82421 (S.D.N.Y. July 12, 1989). We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (8/13/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Bernikow, Leonard (New York)

Kearse, Amalya Lyle (New York)

Kram, Shirley Wohl (New York)

Mansfield, Walter Roe (New York)

Winter, Steven L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Beck, John A. (New York)

Belazis, Paul T. (New York)

Boston, John (New York)

Burchetta, James D. (New York)

Hellerstein, William E. (New York)

Judge(s)

Bernikow, Leonard (New York)

Kearse, Amalya Lyle (New York)

Kram, Shirley Wohl (New York)

Mansfield, Walter Roe (New York)

Winter, Steven L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Beck, John A. (New York)

Belazis, Paul T. (New York)

Boston, John (New York)

Burchetta, James D. (New York)

Hellerstein, William E. (New York)

Levine, Ellen D. (New York)

Lewis, Dori A. (New York)

Rold, William J. (New York)

Spencer, Claudette R. (New York)

Weinstein, Philip L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abrams, Robert W. (New York)

Aronin, Douglas D. (New York)

Bromley, Tarquin Jay (New York)

Butler, Barbara B. (New York)

Leventhal, Melvyn R. (New York)

Lieberman, Frederic L. (New York)

Zwickel, Howard L. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:84-cv-01528

Memorandum Opinion and Order

107 F.R.D. 331

Aug. 29, 1985

Aug. 29, 1985

Order/Opinion

1:84-cv-01528

Memorandum Opinion and Order

623 F.Supp. 392

Dec. 3, 1985

Dec. 3, 1985

Order/Opinion

1:84-cv-01528

Preliminary Injunction

633 F.Supp. 308

April 1, 1986

April 1, 1986

Order/Opinion

86-02175

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

804 F.2d 207

Oct. 28, 1986

Oct. 28, 1986

Order/Opinion

1:84-cv-01528

Stipulation

Feb. 26, 1987

Feb. 26, 1987

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:84-cv-01528

Report and Recommendation

May 20, 1987

May 20, 1987

Order/Opinion

1:84-cv-01528

Final Judgment by Consent on Injunctive Claims

June 13, 1987

June 13, 1987

Order/Opinion

1:84-cv-01528

Memorandum Opinion and Order

1989 WL 82421, 1989 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 8152

July 12, 1989

July 12, 1989

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 14, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 2, 1984

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

female inmates at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

New York State Department of Corrections, State

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility (Bedford Hills), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1987 - 0

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

Affected Gender:

Female

Medical/Mental Health:

Dental care

Type of Facility:

Government-run