Case: White v. Morris

1:88-cv-00470 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Filed Date: May 26, 1988

Closed Date: 1998

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 26, 1988, inmates at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio filed a class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Ohio Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by the prison's policy of double celling inmates on a racially segregated basis. On June 11, 1992, the parties came to an agreement in the case, and they requested the court to e…

On May 26, 1988, inmates at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio filed a class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Ohio Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by the prison's policy of double celling inmates on a racially segregated basis.

On June 11, 1992, the parties came to an agreement in the case, and they requested the court to enter it as a consent decree. On December 1, 1992, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Judge S. Arthur Spiegel) approved a consent decree in the case, finding it to be fair, adequate, and reasonable to address the constitutional problems at issue. The decree remedied the racial segregation by providing for random cell assignment. White v. Morris, 811 F.Supp. 341 (S.D.Ohio 1992).

On April 11, 1993, the worst prison riot in Ohio history, and one of the worst in the nation's history, erupted at the Southern Ohio Correctional facility. Nine inmates and one corrections officer were murdered and many others injured during the eleven-day standoff. During the standoff negotiations, as well as after the riot, the prisoners repeatedly cited integrated celling as a factor contributing to the tense atmosphere at the prison. As part of their agreement to end the siege, the prisoners demanded that the consent decree in this case be reviewed. The siege finally ended on April 21, 1993. After the riot ended, the prison again assigned cells on the basis of race, arguing that it was necessary due to racial tension.

On May 24, 1993, the defendants asked the court to temporarily modify the consent decree. They asked the court to allowing the implementation of emergency procedures that would allow the prison to assign an inmate to a cell based on race if a written finding was made that the inmate harbored racial hostility that would not allow him to peacefully inhabit an integrated cell. The plaintiffs asked the court to deny the defendants' request for modification of the decree, arguing that the defendants had not followed proper procedures (spelled out in the consent decree) for altering the settlement, and that race-based cell assignment was unconstitutional.

On August 31, 1993, the district court (Judge Spiegel) granted the defendants' request to temporarily modify the decree, holding that the change was warranted in view of the intervening prison riot. The court ordered the defendants to reconstruct the destroyed prison records within six weeks, to file all written reports required by the consent decree within three months, and to fully reestablish implementation of the consent decree's random celling policy by January 1, 1994. The court further ordered the defendants to institute an intensive sensitivity training program for the correctional staff at the prison and to submit monthly reports to the court detailing the progress of this training. White v. Morris, 832 F.Supp. 1129 (S.D.Ohio 1993).

On June 22, 1994, the plaintiffs asked the court to award them attorneys' fees and expenses. On September 21, 1994, the district court (Judge Spiegel) granted the plaintiffs $21,690.00 in attorneys fees and $323.66 in expenses. White v. Morris, 863 F.Supp. 607 (S.D.Ohio 1994).

On October 23, 1996, the defendants asked the court to terminate the consent decree pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. On January 13, 1998, the district court (Judge Spiegel) granted the defendants' motion, terminated the consent decree, and closed the case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (8/19/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Spiegel, S. Arthur (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Laufman, Robert Franklin (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Angell, Robert C. (Ohio)

Myers, Robert Warren (Ohio)

Zealey, Sharon J. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Spiegel, S. Arthur (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Laufman, Robert Franklin (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Angell, Robert C. (Ohio)

Myers, Robert Warren (Ohio)

Zealey, Sharon J. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Martin, William E. (Ohio)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Jan. 13, 1998 Docket
281

Order Approving the Proposed Settlement

811 F.Supp. 341

Dec. 1, 1992 Order/Opinion
317

Order Granting Modification of Consent Decree

832 F.Supp. 1129

Aug. 31, 1993 Order/Opinion
350

Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney's Fees

863 F.Supp. 607

Sept. 21, 1994 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Ohio

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 26, 1988

Closing Date: 1998

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Ohio Department of Corrections, State

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (Lucasville), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

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:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1992 - 1998

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Classification / placement

Racial segregation

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Type of Facility:

Government-run