Case: Ben David v. Travisono

1:73-cv-05280 | U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

Filed Date: July 25, 1973

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Case Summary

In approximately 1973, Rhode Island prison inmates filed a class action lawsuit against Rhode Island prison officials, police, and their agents in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. The inmates, represented by private counsel, sought a preliminary restraining order against the officials to protect them from retaliatory conduct for the inmates' participation in a substantive lawsuit against the officials for unconstitutional treatment (see Morris v. Travisono, 310…

In approximately 1973, Rhode Island prison inmates filed a class action lawsuit against Rhode Island prison officials, police, and their agents in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. The inmates, represented by private counsel, sought a preliminary restraining order against the officials to protect them from retaliatory conduct for the inmates' participation in a substantive lawsuit against the officials for unconstitutional treatment (see Morris v. Travisono, 310 F.Supp. 857 (D.R.I.1970). The decree set forth in this decision was the subject of subsequent and acromonious litigation). The inmates alleged that they had been subject to beatings, mental abuse, inhumane and unsanitary conditions, among other things, as retaliation for participating in that suit.

Following a hearing, the District Court (Chief Judge Raymond J. Pettine) issued a preliminary order from the bench without conducting a factual investigation or ascertaining the plaintiffs' probability of success on the merits. The order stated that inmates had testified to a "parade of horribles," including beatings, gassings and strip lock-ups, and that they feared further retaliation. The court announced that it need not make specific factual findings.

The defendants appealed the order, arguing that it could not be entered without the initial investigations. On April 8, 1974, the First Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Levin H. Campbell) affirmed and modified the order. Though the District Court had no license to ignore the factual investigation requirement, the Court (Judge Campbell) determined that the order was supported by the plaintiffs' fear of harassment if they co-operated in the substantive action. Ben David v. Travisono, 495 F.2d 562 (1st Cir. 1974). However, paragraph one was stricken due to its vague wording. The Court reasoned that it crossed the line between a limited protective order (as issued here) and the more expansive preliminary injunction, as it did not specifically state which actions the defendants were to refrain from.

We have no further information about this case.

 

Summary Authors

Stacey Jensen (5/22/2006)

Related Cases

Morris v. Travisono, District of Rhode Island (1969)

People


Judge(s)

Aldrich, Bailey (Massachusetts)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Angelone, Thomas C. (Rhode Island)

Bass, Stanley A. (New York)

Boren, Richard A. (Rhode Island)

Attorney for Defendant

Allen, W. Slater Jr. (Rhode Island)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:73-cv-05280

04192

Opinion and Order

Morris v. Travisono

March 8, 1974

March 8, 1974

Order/Opinion

373 F.Supp. 373

73-01314

Reported Opinion

David v. Travisono

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

April 8, 1974

April 8, 1974

Order/Opinion

495 F.2d 495

79-01186

Per Curiam

David v. Travisono

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

May 16, 1980

May 16, 1980

Order/Opinion

621 F.2d 621

Docket

Last updated April 16, 2024, 3:13 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Rhode Island

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 25, 1973

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Rhode Island Prison Inmates

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Rhode Island, State

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Available Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Order Duration: 1973 - 0

Issues

General/Misc.:

Disciplinary procedures

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Affected Sex/Gender(s):

Male

Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:

Assault/abuse by staff (facilities)