Case: Lamar v. Coffield

4:72-cv-01393 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: Oct. 17, 1972

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Two inmates of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) filed a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on October 17, 1972, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343, alleging race discrimination and unfair segregation practices. On November 6, 1972, eight Spanish-speaking inmates moved to intervene, and the District Court granted their request on January 6, 1973. The United States Attorney General certified the case to be of general public impo…

Two inmates of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) filed a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on October 17, 1972, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343, alleging race discrimination and unfair segregation practices. On November 6, 1972, eight Spanish-speaking inmates moved to intervene, and the District Court granted their request on January 6, 1973. The United States Attorney General certified the case to be of general public importance pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000h-2 (part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), and the United States' motion to intervene was granted on July 6, 1973. Thereafter, eight other inmates' requests to intervene were granted.

The Court certified the case as a class action, consisting of all past, present, and future inmates of TDC. The plaintiffs alleged racial or ethnic discrimination, particularly in assignment to various prison units, living quarters, work squads; in disciplinary procedures; in selection for educational programs; in providing medical care, protection from harm in the prison units, recreational facilities, dining, showering, and other group activities; and in the use of racial and ethnic slurs by the staff. The United States, as intervenor, sought to enjoin TDC from assigning inmates to cells based on race, color, religion, or national origin; from segregating the prison facilities; from failing to implement a standard of prisoner classification not related to race; and from failing to correct and erase the effects of past discriminatory practices.

The parties entered into a consent decree, which the court approved on April 12, 1977. The decree stated that the TDC should implement an affirmative action plan, designed to prevent the use of ethnicity and race for inmate housing assignments, job assignments, discipline, education, medical care, recreational activities. Additionally, the TDC was to take measures to assure its staff did not use racial epithets and did not punish inmates for speaking Spanish.

Over the years, a series of hearings were held about compliance and modification. The court discontinued the state's duty to make routine reports of in-cell integration. In 1996, inmates who did not wish to share cells with inmates of another race sought to intervene in the case and modify the decree. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Judge Lynn Nettleton Hughes) declined to allow these plaintiffs to intervene. Lamar v. Coffield, 951 F. Supp. 629 (S.D.Tex. 1996).

On April 8, 2008 the consent decree was terminated. An emergency motion to implement a filed permanent injunction/temporary restraining order was later denied.

Summary Authors

David Terry (4/10/2006)

Tania Morris Diaz (10/31/2014)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/10167495/parties/lamar-v-coffield/


Judge(s)

Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Texas)

Bue, Carl Olaf Jr. (Texas)

Hughes, Lynn Nettleton (Texas)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

Parker, Robert Manley (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Birnberg, Gerald M. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Felfe, Sharon (Texas)

Idar, Ed Lee Jr. (Texas)

Walsh, Harry H. III (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Texas)

Bue, Carl Olaf Jr. (Texas)

Hughes, Lynn Nettleton (Texas)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

Parker, Robert Manley (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Birnberg, Gerald M. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Felfe, Sharon (Texas)

Idar, Ed Lee Jr. (Texas)

Walsh, Harry H. III (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

Bowman, Robert C. (District of Columbia)

Caldwell, Garnett Ernest (Texas)

Littlefield, Patricia Gail (District of Columbia)

Lopez, David T. (Texas)

Ory, Charles (District of Columbia)

Padgett, Thomas H. Jr. (Texas)

please, delete me (Texas)

Vanderhoof, David J.W. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Jan. 24, 2005 Docket

Docket

Aug. 27, 2008 Docket

Memorandum & Order

353 F.Supp. 1081, 1972 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13880

May 5, 1972 Order/Opinion

Consent Decree

April 12, 1977 Order/Opinion
898

Opinion

951 F.Supp. 629

Jan. 16, 1996 Order/Opinion

Opinion [Dismissing Appeal]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

124 F.3d 192

Aug. 12, 1997 Order/Opinion

USCA Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

218 F.3d 744, 2000 WL 821639, 2000 U.S.App.LEXIS 15288

June 2, 2000 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System

Chad R. Trulson and James W. Marquart

From the publisher's website: <br />Decades after the U.S. Supreme Court and certain governmental actions struck down racial segregation in the larger society, American prison administrators still bo… Oct. 1, 2009 http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/trufir.html

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/10167495/lamar-v-coffield/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1094

Letter

July 10, 2020 PACER

Remark (*PUBLIC ENTRY)

July 18, 2020 PACER

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 17, 1972

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

all past, present, and future inmates of the Texas Department of Corrections

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Texas Department of Corrections, 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: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1977 - 1996

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Education

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Language access/needs

Racial segregation

Recreation / Exercise

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run