Case: Ruiz v. Estelle

4:78-cv-00987 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: June 1, 1972

Closed Date: June 17, 2002

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This was a prisoner led class action which broadly challenged conditions and practices within the Texas state prison system. Issues covered included overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, unsafe working conditions, inadequate access to the justice system, and severe and arbitrary disciplinary procedures. The plaintiff’s 1980 trial victory was followed by over two decades of appeals and negotiations which culminated in numerous consent decrees. As one of the longest running prisoners' lawsuit in U…

This was a prisoner led class action which broadly challenged conditions and practices within the Texas state prison system. Issues covered included overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, unsafe working conditions, inadequate access to the justice system, and severe and arbitrary disciplinary procedures. The plaintiff’s 1980 trial victory was followed by over two decades of appeals and negotiations which culminated in numerous consent decrees. As one of the longest running prisoners' lawsuit in U.S. history, it secured sweeping changes to the Texas prison system.Additionally, the case also addressed these issues for prisoners in solitary confinement or other forms of administrative segregation.

In the years before the suit, Texas’ prisons were rapidly becoming overcrowded in the face of an increasing crime rate coupled with intensifying enforcement of increasingly harsh statutes. Strapped for resources, the state started to cut back in numerous areas, including recreation and healthcare. In response to staffing shortages, numerous prisoners were designated as “building tenders” (i.e. guards) with broad disciplinary authority over their fellow prisoners and were even issued pistols and carbines. This created a favored class of ‘elite’ prisoners who routinely doled out harsh and arbitrary punishment. By the time of the case’s filing in 1972, there were statewide complaints of unsafe conditions and harsh disciplinary practices.

In 1972, David Ruiz, a Texas state prisoner, filed a handwritten complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Representing himself, he sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that his degrading and dangerous conditions of confinement amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He alleged issues such as overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, and abusive security practices.

In the Spring of 1974, Judge Justice ordered the consolidation of this case with seven other TDC lawsuits. (Montana v. Beto, Soto v. Estelle, Hilliard v. Estelle, Winchester v. Estelle, Randall v. Estelle, Pardo v. Estelle, and Johnson v. Estelle). Many of these cases originated from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The resulting consolidated action (captioned Ruiz v. Estelle) proceeded in the Southern District. However, Eastern District Judge W. Wayne Justice was assigned (an unrelated earlier order allowed federal District Judges in Texas to sit, if assigned, in any district in the state). Judge Justice would remain on the case until its closure in 2002. Private counsel was appointed to represent the indigent. Additionally, the United States was ordered to appear in the case as amicus curiae.

Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint. They sought to certify a class for all present and prospective TDC prisoners. Additionally, there were two key allegations. First, TDC has violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. This included TDC’s failure to provide adequate security, healthcare, and safe working/living conditions. Second, TDC had deprived prisoners of due process by interfering with their access to lawyers and the courts.

In December 1974, Judge Justice granted a motion of the United States to intervene as a plaintiff and permitted the action to be maintained as a class action. On July 24, 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied TDC’s petition for a writ of mandamus  to block the United States’ intervention. In re Estelle, 516 F.2d 480 (5th Cir. 1975) (Circuit Judge Tuttle). On June 7, 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. Justice Rehnquist penned a lengthy dissent which was joined by Chief Justice Burger and Justice Powell. He argued that Judge Justice exceeded his authority by ordering the United States to appear as amicus and by subsequently permitting their intervention. This was because the United States lacked a claim of its own and in effect had been dragged in as an “involuntary coplaintiff.” Estelle v. Justice, 426 U.S. 925 (1976). Subsequently, Senator Ted Kennedy drafted a statute granting such authority to the district court (42 U.S.C. § 1997(c)). What followed was the Justice Department funding and conducting an investigation unlike any that had been seen in a prison case.

During the pre-trial period, Judge Justice issued several unpublished protective orders enjoining TDC officials from conduct against plaintiffs' interests based upon their participation in the case. A June 20, 1974, consent order enjoined the TDC from interfering with the plaintiffs' consultations with their attorneys and from case-related threats, harassment, or discipline. On January 20, 1975, a supplemental order protected plaintiffs' access to prison law libraries and to legal mail. On December 30, 1975, a more comprehensive order was released following violations of the previous two protective orders. On April 7, 1977, the Fifth Circuit affirmed this order as supported by the record before the district court which detailed threats, coercion, punishment, and discrimination against the plaintiffs due to their participation in litigation. Ruiz v. Estelle, 550 F.2d 238 (5th Cir. 1977) (per curiam).

October 2, 1978 marked the start of 159 days of trial over the next eleven months. There were more than 300 witnesses, 1500 exhibits, and even a life-size model of a forty-five square foot prison cell.

On December 12, 1980, Judge Justice found conditions within TDC facilities violated the Eighth Amendment and thus granted the requested declaratory and injunctive relief. The court found the involved prisons were grossly overcrowded. Further, defendants had failed to provide adequate recreational facilities, healthcare, prisoner access to courts, hearing procedures for disciplinary actions, and fire safety/sanitation standards. The court made clear that constitutional violations existed for each of these categories individually as well as for the totality of these conditions (should an appellate court disagree with one or more of the categories). The court also ordered the parties confer to develop a consent decree proposal. Special masters would be appointed to monitor compliance once the decree was in place. The order was notable for granting the special masters sweeping authority. This included unrestricted access to TDC facilities and files, the authority to interview all staff and prisoners, hold hearings, make factual findings, and recommendations. Ruiz v. Estelle, 503 F.Supp. 1265 (S.D. Tex. 1980). The defendants appealed. This ruling shifted away from the“hands off doctrine” which federal courts had previously applied to complaints on state prison conditions.

The effects of this order were broad and systemwide. For example, prison officials were ordered to cease quadruple and triple celling. As a result, TDC erected tents, expanded furloughs, liberalized their “good time” policy. Additionally, 1982 marked the start of a prison construction project and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Criminal Justice, whose purpose was to study the prison system and develop a comprehensive plan for reform. The order also marked the end of TDC appointing prisoners as “building tenders.” To replace them TDC hired more guards and developed a more extensive prisoner classification plan.

On March 3, 1981, Judge Justice took two actions. First, he signed a partial consent decree, which was filed on April 20, 1981. Focused on prisoners entering solitary confinement, it covered their diet as well as physical examinations and mental health monitoring. The decree also covered usage of chemical agents, work safety, hygiene, and administrative segregation. (A copy of the decree exists as Appendix A to a later appellate opinion, Ruiz v. Estelle, 679 F.2d 1115 (5th Cir. 1982).) Second, the court issued an injunction for issues outside the consent decree. This included overcrowding, managerial reorganization of prison units, construction/modification of prison units, security, healthcare, discipline, court access, fire safety, and compliance with state health and safety laws. (As amended on May 1, 1981, the court's injunction was published as an appendix to a later Fifth Circuit ruling, Ruiz v. Estelle, 666 F.2d 854 (5th Cir. 1982).)

The defendants asked the Fifth Circuit to stay portions of the district court’s March 1981 injunction, pending appeal. On June 26, 1981, the Fifth Circuit granted the motion. First, it stayed requirements for single-celling of prisoners, rotation of triple-celled prisoners, and release of certain prisoners for work and temporary furloughs. Second, it stayed the requirement that TDC give the court a plan for reorganizing and decentralizing management of each unit housing more than 500 prisoners. Third, the court found that requiring 30-day rotation of prisoners who worked as “building tenders” was an undue interference with the details of prison administration. Fourth, the court refused to stay the requirement that TDC review records of every prisoner who had not received credit for certain categories of good time. Finally, the defendants were entitled to present facts to the district court on whether to stay the requirement to downgrade the unit hospital to an infirmary. Ruiz v. Estelle, 650 F.2d 555 (5th Cir. 1981) (per curiam).

After additional proceedings before the district court, the defendants once again asked the Fifth Circuit to stay portions of the March 1981 injunction. On January 14, 1982, the Fifth Circuit granted in part. The Fifth Circuit stayed the requirements for providing 60 square feet of space per prisoner, providing a specified ratio of prisoners to uniformed staff, and forbidding prisoners from possessing keys even when supervised. However, the Fifth Circuit gave the defendants 60 days to provide at least 40 square feet per prisoner and provide a more lenient ratio of prisoners to uniformed staff.

On June 23, 1982, the Fifth Circuit finally reached the merits, with the stay requests disposed of. It affirmed Judge Justice’s post-trial ruling finding TDC imposed cruel and unusual punishment and denied prisoners due process of law. However, the opinion narrowed the scope of relief. The court determined the district court had inappropriately considered state law claims not raised by the parties. As such, some remedies were not required to protect federal rights and unduly intruded on matters of state concern.

The Fifth Circuit reversed, and thus narrowed, the district court’s order on the following. First, the requirements that TDC take certain steps regarding reduction of inmate population, good time, parole, furlough programs, and improvement of a state prison hospital. Additionally, while the special masters had been properly appointed, the order of reference defining their authority was too sweeping. The court opined that the special master was not a ‘roving district court.’Additionally, no presumption of correctness was to be imputed on their findings or conclusions that were not based upon hearings with proper notice.

The Fifth Circuit also upheld Judge Justice’s order on reducing inmate population, providing prisoners with at least 40 feet of space, preservation of a verbatim record for disciplinary hearings, providing regular exercise for those in administrative segregation, ensuring access to courts and counsel. Ruiz v. Estelle, 679 F.2d 1115 (5th Cir. 1982) (Circuit Judge Rubin).

Following the Fifth Circuit’s opinion, plaintiffs sought a rehearing arguing that issues surrounding TDC’s Huntsville Unit Hospital were already settled. On September 16, 1982, the Fifth Circuit amended their opinion by vacating the portion relating to the hospital. The court also added that the parties were not precluded from seeking additional relief by the agreed-upon fire safety plan or the court’s earlier ruling that double-celling inmates was not cruel and unusual punishment. The court also reaffirmed its earlier determination that the Judge Justice’s order that the TDC use good time, parole, and furlough programs was unduly intrusive. Ruiz v. Estelle, 688 F.2d 266 (5th Cir. 1982) (per curiam). Both parties sought U.S. Supreme Court review. On March 21, 1983, certiorari was denied. Ruiz v. Estelle, 460 U.S. 1042 (1983).

On April 14, 1982, the parties presented Judge Justice with modifications to the consent decree. Most notably, this prohibited the TDC from allowing prisoners to have any position of authority over other prisoners, including their appointment as “building tenders.” Actions covered included escorting prisoners, influencing cell assignments, and having access to prisoners’ medical or institutional records. Seven days later, Judge Justice tentatively approved the modification. After notice was sent only about 1 percent of the class objected, the court approved it fully. A single prisoner appealed this decision. On February 13, 1984, the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion and the class had received adequate notice. Ruiz v. McKaskle, 724 F.2d 1149 (5th Cir. 1984) (per curiam).

In May 1985, the parties presented Judge Justice with more modifications, this time to the crowding options. The TDC agreed to abide by capacity limits, housing standards, and confinement requirements. In return, plaintiffs gave up their pursuit of more stringent limits. On July 15, 1985, Judge Justice approved. However, on September 12, 1986, the TDC asked Judge Justice to modify it further. TDC sought to allow increased capacity within the prison system, but without new construction. Seven days later, the court denied the request and issued an injunction barring TDC from violating the decree. Defendants appealed. On February 23, 1987, the Fifth Circuit affirmed. Ruiz v. Lynaugh, 811 F.2d 856 (5th Cir. 1987) (per curiam).

On March 6, 1990, Judge Justice ordered the parties to start negotiating to bring about a comprehensive final judgment in the case. The aim was to help bring the litigation to a close by both clarifying and expanding the scope of relief in light of new developments. In July 1991, the parties agreed on a proposed final judgment which they submitted to the court on August 13, 1992. Seven days later, the court tentatively approved. Notice was submitted to the class and a hearing held. On December 11, 1992, the court approved the final judgment while noting the “remarkable and palpable changes” systemwide. It covered staffing, support services for inmates, discipline, administrative segregation, work health and safety, use of force, access to the courts, maintenance of facilities, programming and recreational activities, visitation, crowding, new facilities, monitoring, health services, psychiatric services, death row conditions, and enforcement procedures.

On April 26, 1996, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) was signed into law.  It was passed in response to a significant and nationwide increase in prisoner litigation. Chief among its goals was to decrease the number of prisoner suits. It achieved this goal by curbing federal court discretion over prisoner suits. This included requirements that judicial relief be “narrowly drawn” and “exten[d] no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right” while also using the least intrusive means necessary[.]” 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A). Additionally, any court ordered relief could be terminated on motion of the party after two years. 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b)(1)(A)(i). Individuals filing suits against prisoners were also required to pay court fees in full, prove physical injury, and exhaust all administrative remedies. Additionally, you were limited to three suits (the three-strike provision). In the decade after its enactment, the PLRA accounted for a 60% decrease in prisoner filings.

On May 21, 1996, the TDC asked the Court to vacate the final judgment pursuant to the PLRA. The TDC supplemented this motion on September 6, 1996. On September 23, 1996, Judge Justice refused to vacate. The court determined it could not rule on defense motions within the time periods set by the PLRA. Further, Judge Justice declared the automatic stay provisions of the PLRA unconstitutional under due process and separation of powers concerns. On June 15, 1998, Judge Justice also denied a motion by the United States, a plaintiff-intervenor, to reconsider his decision.

In May 1996 two Texas state legislators asked Judge Justice to intervene under the PLRA, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(3)(F). On November 24, 1997, the motion was denied. It had been opposed by both the plaintiffs and the TDC. On January 28, 1998, Judge Justice denied the legislators’ request for reconsideration despite amendments to the PLRA. The legislators appealed. On November 20, 1998, the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded the case. They reasoned that the PLRA granted individual legislators the right to intervene, that granting their intervention did not violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution, and that the 1992 final judgment was a prisoner release order within the meaning of the PLRA. Ruiz v. Estelle, 161 F.3d 814 (5th Cir. 1998) (Circuit Judge Garwood).

On May 6, 1998, the TDC again asked Judge Justice to terminate the final judgment. This time, they cited the PLRA’s two-year termination provision. On June 19, 1998, the court denied the request. By this time, the TDC’s September 6, 1996, supplemental motion to terminate had still not been ruled upon. As such, TDC petitioned the Fifth Circuit for a writ of mandamus to force a ruling. On December 16, 1998, the Fifth Circuit set a deadline for the ruling, 31 days after the motion’s evidentiary hearing which was scheduled for January 21, 1999. In re Scott, 163 F.3d 282 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam).

An evidentiary hearing was conducted from January 21 to February 12, 1999. On March 1, 1999, Judge Justice once again refused to terminate the final judgment order. The court had found numerous violations of the 1992 consent judgment and the U.S. Constitution by TDC’s actions in medical, psychiatric, segregation practices (particularly regarding mentally ill prisoners), prisoner safety, and guards’ use of excessive force. Additionally, the court held the PLRA’s two-year termination provision violated separation of power principles. Ruiz v. Johnson, 37 F.Supp.2d 855 (S.D. Tex. 1999). Defendants appealed. The United States, plaintiff-intervenor, filed a cross-appeal.

March 20, 2001, The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded. It held the PLRA’s two-year termination provision did not violate separation of power principles or due process. Further, the 1992 final judgment did not preclude the TDC’s reliance on the subsequently enacted PLRA from seeking to vacate. Further, Judge Justice’s failure to make findings mandated under the PLRA meant the case needed to be remanded. The court remanded with instructions to determine if there were any ongoing constitutional violations and which aspects of the decree remained necessary to correct those violations. Ruiz v. U.S., 243 F.3d 941 (5th Cir. 2001) (Circuit Judge Stewart).

On June 18, 2001 on remand, Judge Justice again found violations of the Eighth Amendment in three major areas: conditions of confinement in administrative segregation, the failure to provide reasonable safety to inmates against assault and abuse, and the excessive use of force by correctional officers. In those areas, the preexisting relief would continue alongside new relief to correct the continuing violations. However, relief was terminated in regards to staffing, support services, discipline, administrative segregation, access to courts, visitations, crowding, monitoring by inmates' counsel, internal monitoring, health services, and death row conditions. Also, the parties were encouraged to negotiate and respond to the continuing constitutional violations in the hopes of a final termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the Texas prison system. Ruiz v. Johnson 154 F.Supp.2d 975 (S.D. Tex. 2001).

On June 7, 2002, the parties took part in a final status conference. The parties had reached a stipulation on attorneys’ fees and all contested issues, except for one regarding whether the court’s findings from March 1, 1999 should be vacated. The parties expressed a desire to “let federal jurisdiction in Ruiz end and move on in the future with [TDC] following some of its own initiatives[.]” 

On June 17, 2002, the court ordered the TDC to pay plaintiffs $1,379,025.25 in attorneys’ fees. Also, a final judgment was issued dismissing the case with prejudice.

By surviving a series of procedural hoops, Ruiz remained to have a  massive effect on Texas’ prisons. It reduced crowding, ended the longtime use of “building tenders,” improved access to healthcare, instituted more disciplinary procedural safeguards, and counteracted the general culture of violence and intimidation that had defined the prison system. However, Professor Margo Schlanger, in her 2006 article for the New York University Law Review, argued that the “kitchen-sink” litigation seen in Ruiz acted as an “inadvertent rate buster” by setting the bar very high for obtaining broad orders in prison litigation. Additionally, a 2013 publication from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition detailed continuing reports of inhumane conditions within Texas prisons after the Ruiz court ended oversight in 2002.

Hundreds of boxes of documents were generated during the 30-year history of the Ruiz litigation. For those interested in reviewing more Ruiz litigation documents, including monitor reports, a vast collection of case documents is maintained by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Similarly, a collection of records related to the work of the Office of the Special Master is located in a repository maintained by the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (5/17/2007)

Eric Gripp (4/12/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16354486/parties/ruiz-v-estellebr-bfont-colorff0000no-further-motions-from/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff

Arenas, Christina (California)

Baldwin, Holly MacLeish (California)

Attorney for Defendant

Aguilar, Javier (Texas)

Anastasiadis, Demetri (Texas)

Expert/Monitor/Master/Other

Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)

show all people

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:78-cv-00987

Docket (PACER)

March 22, 2006

March 22, 2006

Docket

75-01464

Brief for the United States

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

March 20, 1975

March 20, 1975

Pleading / Motion / Brief

75-01464

Opinion

In Re W. J. Estelle, Jr.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

July 24, 1975

July 24, 1975

Order/Opinion

516 F.2d 516

75-00928

Opinion

Estelle v. Justice

Supreme Court of the United States

June 7, 1976

June 7, 1976

Order/Opinion

426 U.S. 426

76-01948

Per Curiam Opinion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

April 7, 1977

April 7, 1977

Order/Opinion

550 F.2d 550

77-02859

USCA Opinion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Jan. 2, 1980

Jan. 2, 1980

Order/Opinion

609 F.2d 609

4:78-cv-00987

Memorandum Opinion

Dec. 12, 1980

Dec. 12, 1980

Order/Opinion

503 F.Supp. 503

4:78-cv-00987

Order and Consent Decree [Note: Some pages missing] -- plus printed version

March 3, 1981

March 3, 1981

Order/Opinion

4:78-cv-00987

Amended Decree

May 1, 1981

May 1, 1981

Order/Opinion

81-02224

Opinion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

June 26, 1981

June 26, 1981

Order/Opinion

650 F.2d 650

Resources

Title Description External URL Date / External URL

Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Steven Martin & Sheldon Elkland-Olson

Dec. 1, 1987

Dec. 1, 1987

None

William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography

Frank R. Kemerer

Jan. 1, 1991

Jan. 1, 1991

None

The Origins of Ruiz v. Estelle

William Wayne Justice

Jan. 1, 1990

Jan. 1, 1990

https://www.jstor.org/...

Prison Litigation and Bureaucratic Development

Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin

Dec. 1, 1992

Dec. 1, 1992

None

A Guide to the Frances Jalet-Cruz Papers, 1966-1986

The University of Texas at Austin

Correspondence, legal documents, diaries, newspapers, clippings, and printed material documenting Frances Freeman Jalet-Cruz's activities as an attorney and activist for criminal justice and prison r… Jan. 1, 1986

Jan. 1, 1986

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/...

Writ-Writer

Susanne Mason

From the film website:
Writ Writer documents the remarkable transformation of Fred Arispe Cruz, from a barrio delinquent on drugs to the hero of the prison reform movement in Texas.
Jan. 1, 2008

Jan. 1, 2008

https://www.newday.com/...

Ruiz: A Struggle over Legitimacy

Sheldon Ekland-Olson & Steve J. Martin

Jan. 1, 1990

Jan. 1, 1990

https://books.google.com/...

Mastering Legal Access Rights of Prisoners

Samuel Jan Brakel

July 1, 1986

July 1, 1986

http://offerofproof.net/...

An Appeal to Justice: Litigated Reform of the Texas Prisons

Ben M. Crouch & James W. Marquart

Jan. 1, 1989

Jan. 1, 1989

None

Ruiz: Intervention and Emergent Order in Texas Prisons

Ben M. Crouch and James W. Marquart

Jan. 1, 1990

Jan. 1, 1990

None

The Old Regime and the Ruiz Revolution: The Impact of Judicial Intervention on Texas Prisons

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

Jan. 1, 1990

Jan. 1, 1990

None

The Origins of Ruiz v. Estelle

William Wayne Justice

On March 21, 1990, the Honorable William Wayne Justice, as Herman Phleger Visiting Professor of Law, delivered a speech to the Stanford community on the origins of Ruiz v. Estelle, the case in which …

file:/...

Judicial Reform and Prisoner Control: the Impact of Ruiz v. Estelle on a Texas Penitentiary

James Marquart

This article examines the impact of court-ordered structural reforms on a Texas penitentiary. The staff’s prisoner control structure is analyzed before, during, and after the reform measures decreed…

file:/...

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16354486/ruiz-v-estellebr-bfont-colorff0000no-further-motions-from/

Last updated April 10, 2024, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
8982

Order re: use of force, safety/protection, administrative segregation, general order and termination of jurisdiction. (Attachments: # 1 partial docket sheet) (ltien, ) (Entered: 01/22/2009)

Oct. 12, 2001

Oct. 12, 2001

PACER
9001

RESPONSE by David R Ruiz et al to defts' report and plan concerning seriously mentally ill prisoners in segregation, filed. (HC inst #8996) (amaly) (Entered: 01/31/2002)

Jan. 15, 2002

Jan. 15, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Edward Mena (#335413; Estelle Unit HSJ 1-32; 264 FM 3478; Huntsville, TX 77320) 1/11/02 letter addredded to Judge Justice re: grievances and unfair treatment; ret'd with a copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Jan. 16, 2002

Jan. 16, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Joseph Stewart (#602302; Clements Unit; 9601 Spur 591; Amarillo, TX 79107) 1/15/02 letter addressed to Judge Justice re: unfair treatment of inmate Chad Gooch; ret'd with copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Jan. 23, 2002

Jan. 23, 2002

PACER
9002

DECLARATION by Donna Brorby in support of pltfs' motion to enforce judgment for attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, filed. (amaly) (Entered: 02/08/2002)

Jan. 24, 2002

Jan. 24, 2002

PACER
9003

Minute entry: Hearing held before Judge Justice. Apps: D Brorby, G Coleman, Sharon Felfe. Hearing on pltfs' motion to enforce 1983 judgment (inst #8966). Oral argument heard on behalf of both parties. Court takes the matter under advisement. Ct Reporter: Kathy Carroll. (amaly) (Entered: 02/08/2002)

Feb. 1, 2002

Feb. 1, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Curtis Leon Thomas Jr (#660149; McConnell Unit; 3001 S Emily Dr; Beeville, TX 78102) 1-29-02 letter/petition for contempt. Ret'd with copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 4, 2002

Feb. 4, 2002

PACER
9004

RESPONSE by Gregory S Coleman for defts' and deft-intervenors', in opposition to [9002-1] Declaration, filed (amaly) (Entered: 02/08/2002)

Feb. 5, 2002

Feb. 5, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and Ret'd to inmate Eddie Brewer (#723891; Ramsey I Unit; 1100 FM 655; Rosharon, TX 77583) motion to enforce court orders. Ret'd with copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 8, 2002

Feb. 8, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate William L Storemont (#1066370; TDCJ-Central Unit; One Circle Dr; Sugarland, TX) letter addressed to Judge Justice, re: prison conditions and abuse. Ret'd with copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 11, 2002

Feb. 11, 2002

PACER

Rec'd letter from inmate Eddie Brewer, sending page 2 of motion left out of previous mailing. Ret'd letter and page 2 of motion to inmate. (copy of order #8723 mailed 2/8/02) (amaly)

Feb. 11, 2002

Feb. 11, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret's to inmate Andre' Hill (#604387, 2101 FM 369 N; Iowa Park, TX 76367) letter addressed to Judge Justice re:unfair treatment and transfer request. Ret's w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 11, 2002

Feb. 11, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate William Storemont (#1066370 One Circle Dr; Sugarland, TX 77478) Letter addressed to David Bradley re: Ruiz case information. Ret'd with copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 19, 2002

Feb. 19, 2002

PACER
9005

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS of hearing on pltf's motion to enforce 1983 Judgment, held on 1/24/02 before Judge William Wayne Justice, filed. ( Court Rptr: Kathy Carroll) (amaly) (Entered: 02/21/2002)

Feb. 20, 2002

Feb. 20, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Eddie Brewer (#723891, Ramsey 1 Unit; 1100 FM 655; Rosharon, TX 77583) letter addressed to Clerk, US District Court re: retaliation and unfair treatment. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

Feb. 25, 2002

Feb. 25, 2002

PACER

MAIL RETURNED UNDELIVERABLE as to William G Maddox re: new address, Dept of Justice, Special Litigation 350 Pennsylvania Ave NW; Washington DC 20530-0001. (amaly)

Feb. 28, 2002

Feb. 28, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Thomas Craaybeek (#828650, Manuel Segovia Unit; 1210 El Cibolo Rd; Edinburg, TX 78539) letter to Judge Rosenthal re: Ruiz case ruling and unfair living conditions. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

March 11, 2002

March 11, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Theodore Flanagan (#734335, 2101 FM 369 N; Iowa Park TX 76367) letter addressed to Judge Justice re: inmate segregation. Rest'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

March 20, 2002

March 20, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Theodore Flanagan (#734335, 2101 FM 369 N; Iowa Park, TX 76367) Letter addressed to Judge Justice re: safekeeping of inmates. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

March 29, 2002

March 29, 2002

PACER
9006

NOTICE of Filing and Overview of the April 1 Reports by defts', filed w/exhibits (11 boxes) (amaly) Modified on 04/02/2002 (Entered: 04/02/2002)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

PACER
9007

MOTION to seal certain exhibits to the April Reports by defts, Motion Docket Date 4/21/02 [9007-1] motion, filed. (amaly) (Entered: 04/02/2002)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd ti inmate Theodore Flanagan (#734335; 2101 FM 369 N; Iowa Park, TX 76367) Copy of letter addressed to Donna Brorby ret's w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Windell E Henry (#935525 6E46; PO Box 650675, Dallas, TX 75265) letter addressed to the Clerk requesting Judge Justice's and Donna Brorby's address to mail pleadings. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Finis Blankenship (#208266; Jester III Unit; Richmond, TX 77469) Motion to present vital information. Ret's w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 4, 2002

April 4, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Joseph Stewart III (#602302, 1313 County Rd 19; Lamesa, TX 79331) letter addressed to Judge Justice re: declaratory judgment concerning routine denials or inadequate responses to grievances in TDCJ. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 10, 2002

April 10, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Jim D Gollihar (#595573 1525 FM 766 Cuero, TX 77954) petition of inmate Paul Celestine (#872178) for relief for the violation of court order. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 16, 2002

April 16, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Edward Mena (#335413 Estelle HS Unit; 264 FM 3478; Huntsville, TX 77320) 4/23/02 letter to Judge Justice re: mishandled mail. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

April 29, 2002

April 29, 2002

PACER
9008

STIPULATED ORDER: The 6/1/02 deadline identified in paragraph 21 of the Court's 10/12/01 order is extended. Set pltf's objections to the termination of jurisdiction due 6/10/02, entered. Parties notified. ( signed by Judge William W. Justice ) (amaly) (Entered: 06/05/2002)

May 29, 2002

May 29, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and ret'd to inmate Michael J Austin (#661366 Michael Unit, PO Box 4500; Tennessee Colony TX 75886) Motion to Intervene, to Enforce Court Orders, For a Permanent Injunction and forfurther relief. Ret's w/copy of order #8723. (Rec'd in Eastern District of TX, Tyler Division 5/16/02) (amaly)

June 3, 2002

June 3, 2002

PACER
9009

Deft's NOTICE of filing of supplemental exhibits by Sharon Felfe, filed. (2 boxes of exhibits frwd to fileroom) (amaly) (Entered: 06/13/2002)

June 6, 2002

June 6, 2002

PACER
9010

Deft's Amended Master Exhibit list by Sharon Felfe, et al, filed (amaly) (Entered: 06/13/2002)

June 6, 2002

June 6, 2002

PACER
9013

STIPULATION re: Judgment for counsel fees and costs, by pltfs and defts, filed. (amaly) (Entered: 06/17/2002)

June 7, 2002

June 7, 2002

PACER

Rec'd and frwd to inmate Howard Rich (#847823, 3872 S FM 350, Livingston, TX 77351-8580) Letter addressed to the Clerk requesting procedures. Ret'd w/copy of order #8723. (amaly)

June 13, 2002

June 13, 2002

PACER
9011

DEFT'S MEMORANDUM OF LAWi Urging the Court to Vacate Opinions and Orders, filed. (amaly) (Entered: 06/17/2002)

June 14, 2002

June 14, 2002

PACER
9012

Minute entry: In chambers conference held. Apps: D Brorby f/pltfs; G Coleman, S Felfe f/defts. Parties discussed settlement of several outstanding issues as to collateral estopple matters. Court requests that pltf file a brief in this regard no later than 6/12/02. Court further takes this issue under consideration. Set pltfs' brief due for 6/12/02 Ct Reporter: Kathy Carroll. (amaly) (Entered: 06/17/2002)

June 17, 2002

June 17, 2002

PACER
9014

ATTORNEYS FEES JUDGMENT, entered. The judgment entered on 1/10/83 is VACATED. Defts shall pay $1,379,025.25 to cover pltfs' counsel fees through 5/31/02. Defts shall pay $550,975.75 to cover pltfs' attorneys' costs and expenses through 5/31/02. These amounts shall be paid to Donna Brorby as Trustee, she shall disburse the amounts among pltfs' counsel. Defts shall pay to Donna Brorby no more than $50,000.00 in additional attorneys fees and expenses occurring after 5/31/02, such fees shall be paid after receipt by defts of an itemized statement. Parties notified. ( signed by Judge William W. Justice ) (amaly) (Entered: 06/17/2002)

June 17, 2002

June 17, 2002

PACER
9015

FINAL JUDGMENT, entered. This action is dismissed. Parties ntfd. ( signed by Judge William W. Justice ) (amaly) (Entered: 06/17/2002)

June 17, 2002

June 17, 2002

PACER
9016

ORDER denying defts' [9011-1] request to vacate various orders and opinions, entered; Parties notified. ( signed by Judge William W. Justice ) (amaly) (Entered: 06/18/2002)

June 17, 2002

June 17, 2002

PACER

Case closed (ltien)

June 17, 2002

June 17, 2002

PACER
9017

MEMORANDUM by Donna Brorby in opposition to defts' [9011-1] motion to vacate, filed (amaly) (Entered: 06/25/2002)

June 18, 2002

June 18, 2002

PACER
9018

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS of Status Conference for dates of 6/7/02 before Judge Wiliam Wayne Justice, filed. ( Court Rptr: Kathy Carroll) (amaly) (Entered: 06/25/2002)

June 24, 2002

June 24, 2002

PACER

ORDER OF USCA (certified copy) GRANTING the joint motion to dismiss the appeal. It is further ordered that appellants' motion to vacate the Dist Crts orders and opinions of 3/1/99, 6/18/01 and 10/12/01 is DENIED Re:, filed. CCA No. 01-20757 (fmremp) Modified on 10/25/2002

Sept. 6, 2002

Sept. 6, 2002

PACER
9019

ORDER OF USCA (certified copy) 09/10/02, filed. The joint motion to dismiss the appeal is GRANTED, and the appellants' motion to vacate the District Court's orders and opinions of 3/1/99, 6/18/01 and 10/12/01 is DENIED. CCA No. 01-20757 (fmremp) Modified on 10/25/2002 (Entered: 09/26/2002)

Sept. 10, 2002

Sept. 10, 2002

PACER
9019

ORDER OF USCA (certified copy) 09/10/02, filed. The joint motion to dismiss the appeal is GRANTED, and the appellants' motion to vacate the District Court's orders and opinions of 3/1/99, 6/18/01 and 10/12/01 is DENIED. CCA No. 01-20757 (fmremp) Modified on 10/25/2002 (Entered: 09/26/2002)

Sept. 10, 2002

Sept. 10, 2002

PACER

Record on appeal returned from U.S. Court of Appeals: consisting of 22 vol of records, 20 transcripts, 78 vols bound information and 38 boxes of exhibits; files forwarded to file room and placed on shelves on the wall behind the civil exhibits. USCA No 01-20757 (fmremp) Modified on 11/12/2002

Sept. 10, 2002

Sept. 10, 2002

PACER

Record on appeal returned from U.S. Court of Appeals: consisting of 22 vol of records, 20 transcripts, 78 vols bound information and 38 boxes of exhibits; files forwarded to file room and placed on shelves on the wall behind the civil exhibits. USCA No 01-20757 (fmremp) Modified on 11/12/2002

Sept. 10, 2002

Sept. 10, 2002

PACER
9020

MOTION/APPLICATION for Emergency Injunctions Restraining Orders, and or Preliminary Injunction by Pltf Moore Motion Docket Date , filed. (kmurphy) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

May 3, 2004

May 3, 2004

9021

MEMORANDUM of law in support of Pltf's [9020] motion, filed (pw) eod 05/03/04 (kmurphy) Modified on 07/21/2004 (Entered: 07/21/2004)

May 3, 2004

May 3, 2004

9022

MOTION for Enforcement of Judgment by Eliberto G Reyna Motion Docket Date , filed. (pw) eod 5/13/04 (kmurphy) Modified on 07/21/2004 (Entered: 07/21/2004)

June 21, 2004

June 21, 2004

9023

MOTION to enforce consent decree by David W Ford et al Motion Docket Date , filed. (kmurphy) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 2, 2004

July 2, 2004

9024

MOTION for violation of past court orders and protection of prisoners retaliation Motion Docket Date , filed. (pw) eod 07/06/04 (kmurphy) Modified on 07/21/2004 (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 7, 2004

July 7, 2004

9025

PETITION for court intervention by John W Banos Motion Docket Date , filed. (kmurphy) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 7, 2004

July 7, 2004

9026

MOTION for Judgment (Declartory) by Michael Anthony Moore, filed. Motion Docket Date 10/13/2004. (nochsner, ) (Entered: 09/30/2004)

Sept. 23, 2004

Sept. 23, 2004

9028

MOTION violations of consent decrees by Michael David, filed. Motion Docket Date 10/20/2004. (kmurphy, ) (Entered: 10/10/2004)

Sept. 30, 2004

Sept. 30, 2004

9029

MOTION for Order to Show Cause Why They Should Not Be Held In Contempt Of Court Order, by David R Ruiz, filed. Motion Docket Date 11/14/2004. (psmith, ) (Entered: 10/28/2004)

Oct. 25, 2004

Oct. 25, 2004

9030

MOTION For Injunctive Relief Including a TRO, by David R Ruiz, filed. Motion Docket Date 11/18/2004. (Attachments: # 1)(psmith, ) (Entered: 11/01/2004)

Oct. 29, 2004

Oct. 29, 2004

9031

NOTICE of Violation of Consent Decrees and Existing Orders, by Michael David, filed. (psmith, ) (Entered: 11/18/2004)

Nov. 10, 2004

Nov. 10, 2004

9032

MOTION/APPLICATION to Proceed In Forma Pauperis under Imminent Danger of Serious Physical Injury, by David R Ruiz, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/28/2005. (psmith, ) (Entered: 02/09/2005)

Feb. 7, 2005

Feb. 7, 2005

9033

REQUEST for Court Intervention, by John W Bonos, filed.(psmith, ) (Entered: 03/16/2005)

March 15, 2005

March 15, 2005

9034

MOTION to Intervene, by John W Bonos, filed. Motion Docket Date 5/3/2005. (psmith, ) (Entered: 04/15/2005)

April 13, 2005

April 13, 2005

9035

MOTION for and Emergency Protective Order, by Harvey Smith, filed. Motion Docket Date 6/23/2005. (psmith, ) (Entered: 06/03/2005)

June 3, 2005

June 3, 2005

9036

Class Members' MOTION for Enforcement of Prior Agreed Orders, and Brief in Support, by Jeffrey Mack Chapin, filed. Motion Docket Date 7/11/2005. (psmith, ) (Entered: 06/22/2005)

June 21, 2005

June 21, 2005

9037

MOTION to Vacate Final Judgment by James W Bright, filed. Motion Docket Date 7/28/2005. (kmurphy, ) (Entered: 07/11/2005)

July 8, 2005

July 8, 2005

9038

MOTION to Enforce Consent Decree Specifically COurt Ordered Protection and Transfer Order as to 9031 Notice (Other) by Jack Thompson, filed. Motion Docket Date 11/8/2005. (rroberts, ) (Entered: 10/20/2005)

Oct. 19, 2005

Oct. 19, 2005

9039

Letter from Jack Thompson re: Letter requesting case status. , filed. (ypippin, ) (Entered: 11/09/2005)

Nov. 3, 2005

Nov. 3, 2005

9040

MOTION for Civil Contempt of Court Order to Seek Enforcement of the Consent Decree, MOTION for Order to Show Cause by Michael Anthony Moore, David R Ruiz, filed. Motion Docket Date 12/29/2005. (Attachments: # 1 Continuation # 2 Continuation)(sguevara, ) (Entered: 12/14/2005)

Dec. 9, 2005

Dec. 9, 2005

9041

MOTION for Relief from Court's Judgment Rule 60(B)(6) by R Wayne Johnson, filed. Motion Docket Date 12/29/2005. (sguevara, ) (Entered: 12/14/2005)

Dec. 9, 2005

Dec. 9, 2005

9042

MOTION to Reopen Final Jugdment Consent Decree by Michael Anthony Moore, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/16/2006. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(jmarchand, ) (Entered: 01/27/2006)

Jan. 27, 2006

Jan. 27, 2006

9093

Miscellaneous Relief

May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

PACER
9093

Miscellaneous Relief

May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

PACER
9094

Letter

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

PACER
9094

Letter

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

PACER
9095

Letter

Sept. 4, 2015

Sept. 4, 2015

PACER
9095

Letter

Sept. 4, 2015

Sept. 4, 2015

PACER
9096

Letter

Sept. 23, 2015

Sept. 23, 2015

PACER
9096

Letter

Sept. 23, 2015

Sept. 23, 2015

PACER
9097

Letter

Oct. 7, 2015

Oct. 7, 2015

PACER
9097

Letter

Oct. 7, 2015

Oct. 7, 2015

PACER
9098

Letter

Aug. 30, 2016

Aug. 30, 2016

PACER
9098

Letter

Aug. 30, 2016

Aug. 30, 2016

PACER
9099

Letter

Oct. 5, 2016

Oct. 5, 2016

PACER
9099

Letter

Oct. 5, 2016

Oct. 5, 2016

PACER
9100

Letter

Nov. 29, 2016

Nov. 29, 2016

PACER
9100

Letter

Nov. 29, 2016

Nov. 29, 2016

PACER
9101

Letter

Jan. 11, 2017

Jan. 11, 2017

PACER
9101

Letter

Jan. 11, 2017

Jan. 11, 2017

PACER
9102

Clerks Memo to Prisoner (FORM, noticing) - Civil

Jan. 27, 2017

Jan. 27, 2017

PACER
9102

Clerks Memo to Prisoner (FORM, noticing) - Civil

Jan. 27, 2017

Jan. 27, 2017

PACER
9103

Clerks Memo to Prisoner (FORM, noticing) - Civil

Jan. 30, 2017

Jan. 30, 2017

PACER
9103

Clerks Memo to Prisoner (FORM, noticing) - Civil

Jan. 30, 2017

Jan. 30, 2017

PACER
9104

Advisory

Sept. 20, 2017

Sept. 20, 2017

PACER
9104

Advisory

Sept. 20, 2017

Sept. 20, 2017

PACER

Remark (*PUBLIC ENTRY)

Nov. 8, 2017

Nov. 8, 2017

PACER

Remark (*PUBLIC ENTRY)

Nov. 8, 2017

Nov. 8, 2017

PACER
9105

Clerks Notice (noticing) - Civil

Oct. 18, 2019

Oct. 18, 2019

PACER
9105

Clerks Notice (noticing) - Civil

Oct. 18, 2019

Oct. 18, 2019

PACER
9106

Document

Oct. 23, 2019

Oct. 23, 2019

PACER
9106

Document

Oct. 23, 2019

Oct. 23, 2019

PACER
9107

Letter

Dec. 18, 2019

Dec. 18, 2019

PACER
9107

Letter

Dec. 18, 2019

Dec. 18, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Civil Rights Division Archival Collection

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 1, 1972

Closing Date: June 17, 2002

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prisoners in the custody of the Texas Department of Corrections

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU National (all projects)

ACLU National Prison Project

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Texas Department of Corrections, State

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Reporting

Monitor/Master

Recordkeeping

Monitoring

Amount Defendant Pays: $1,379,025.25

Order Duration: 1981 - 2002

Issues

General/Misc.:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Disciplinary procedures

Fire safety

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Recreation / Exercise

Restraints : chemical

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Affected Sex/Gender(s):

Female

Male

Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:

Administrative segregation

Assault/abuse by non-staff (facilities)

Assault/abuse by staff (facilities)

Crowding / caseload

Disciplinary segregation

Pre-PLRA Population Cap

Sexual abuse by residents/inmates

Medical/Mental Health Care:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Policing:

Excessive force