Case: Anderson v. Williams

05-05030 | District of Columbia state trial court

Filed Date: June 29, 2005

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 29, 2005, seven D.C. Jail inmates, represented by the D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project and the private law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court to challenge severe overcrowding at the Jail and to force compliance with the D.C. Jail Improvement Act of 2003. Plaintiffs alleged that the Act, which was passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in July 2003, required the Mayor to establish a population cap at the Jail following a study c…

On June 29, 2005, seven D.C. Jail inmates, represented by the D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project and the private law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court to challenge severe overcrowding at the Jail and to force compliance with the D.C. Jail Improvement Act of 2003. Plaintiffs alleged that the Act, which was passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in July 2003, required the Mayor to establish a population cap at the Jail following a study completed by the consulting firm of Pulitzer/Bogard Associates which recommended a cap of between 1,958 and 2,164 inmates. Plaintiffs alleged that the Mayor refused to comply with the Act, resulting in dangerous conditions at the Jail because of the continued overcrowding. At the time suit was filed, the average daily Jail population was alleged to have risen as high as 2,400 inmates.

The defendants moved to dismiss the case, which the court (Judge Melvin R. Wright) denied on October 13, 2005. According to the docket, the case was set for mediation on several occasions, but the mediation was either cancelled or continued. The court set a briefing schedule, and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

On August 24, 2007, Judge Wright granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. While the Clearinghouse does not have a copy of the order, the docket reveals that Judge Wright ordered the District of Columbia to establish a jail capacity cap in writing and to provide a copy of the document on or before an October 5, 2007 status hearing. The defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment was denied. The defendants moved to amend the court's judgment, which was subsequently denied by the court at the October 5, 2007 status hearing. On October 14, 2007, the court, acting on its own initiative, ordered the defendants to submit, within 30 days, a notice of proposed rulemaking establishing a jail capacity cap of 2,164.

The case was set for another status conference to be held on March 28, 2008. Although there is no information as to what happened during the conference, according to Prison Legal News, the city published the official order of a population cap for the D.C. Jail in the January 18, 2008, edition of the D.C. Register, 55 D.C. Reg. 492 (Jan. 18, 2008).

On October 28, 2008, the Judge dismissed the case without prejudice but also included a provision that the attorneys could file any objection of counsel before January 19, 2009. The average daily population at the Jail for September 2008 was 1,933. As of 2019, there has been no further activity on the docket.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/5/2008)

Averyn Lee (6/9/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Wright, Melvin R (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Amatrudo, Vincent A. (District of Columbia)

Fornaci, Phillip Jerome (District of Columbia)

Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia)

Howard, Theodore Augustus (District of Columbia)

Whitaker, Joshua G. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Eugene A. III (District of Columbia)

Amato, Maria-Claudia T. (District of Columbia)

Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia)

Saindon, Andrew J. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Wright, Melvin R (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Amatrudo, Vincent A. (District of Columbia)

Fornaci, Phillip Jerome (District of Columbia)

Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia)

Howard, Theodore Augustus (District of Columbia)

Whitaker, Joshua G. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Eugene A. III (District of Columbia)

Amato, Maria-Claudia T. (District of Columbia)

Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia)

Saindon, Andrew J. (District of Columbia)

Valentine, George C. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [DC Superior Court]

Jan. 4, 2008 Docket

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

June 29, 2005 Complaint

D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project Press Release: "D.C. Inmates File Lawsuit Over Mayor’s Refusal to Obey The Law"

No Court

June 29, 2005 Press Release

Resources

Title Description External URL

Officials Agree To Cap Population at D.C. Jail

Michael Rigby

Feb. 15, 2009 https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/feb/15/officials-agree-to-cap-population-at-dc-jail/

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 29, 2005

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Group of D.C. inmates currently being held in the D.C. Jail.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Washington Lawyers' Committee

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

District of Columbia, State

D.C. Department of Corrections, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 2008 - 2008

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Conditions of confinement

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Post-PLRA Population Cap

Type of Facility:

Government-run