Case: Bryan v. Werner

3:73-00606 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Oct. 23, 1973

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1973, a person incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se Section 1983 suit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against prison officials. Plaintiff alleged that various regulations and practices unconstitutionally restrict inmates' access to the courts. Specifically, plaintiff complained of defendants' refusal to allow inmates to use the Resident Law Clinic for the preparation of writs, damage suits, or civil suits against the prison. To en…

In 1973, a person incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se Section 1983 suit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against prison officials. Plaintiff alleged that various regulations and practices unconstitutionally restrict inmates' access to the courts. Specifically, plaintiff complained of defendants' refusal to allow inmates to use the Resident Law Clinic for the preparation of writs, damage suits, or civil suits against the prison. To enforce this policy, outgoing mail from the clinic was inspected and subject to approval by one of the coordinators.

After a consolidated hearing, the district court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary and permanent injunction and entered judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. Bryan v. Werner, 516 F.2d 288 (3d Cir. 1975). The court (Judge James Hunter III) held that defendants could not refuse to mail legal papers because it impeded inmate's access to the courts. The court also held that defendants' policy of preventing the clinic from assisting inmates in suits against the prison is valid only if there are reasonable alternatives for the inmate. The case was remanded for reconsideration of reasonable alternatives to the clinic available to inmates.

The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the most recent decision, dated May 7, 1975.

 

Summary Authors

Eoghan Keenan (6/10/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Hunter, James III (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kane, Robert P. (Pennsylvania)

Smyser, J. Andrew (Pennsylvania)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Hunter, James III (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kane, Robert P. (Pennsylvania)

Smyser, J. Andrew (Pennsylvania)

Other Attorney(s)

Lerner, Benjamin (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

74-01406

Opinion of the Court

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

516 F.2d 233

May 7, 1975

May 7, 1975

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 12, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 23, 1973

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiff is an inmate alleging that aspects of the operation of a resident law clinic at institution violated his constitutional rights.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Unknown

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

State Correctional Institution, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Law library access

Mail

Search policies

Type of Facility:

Government-run