Case: Collins v. Thompson

2:78-00013 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Filed Date: Jan. 9, 1978

Closed Date: 1994

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1978, prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Washington Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding and double celling at the jail. On January 19, 1981, the parties submitted a proposed consent decree, which provided for eventual reduction of the prison's population, to the U.S. Dist…

In 1978, prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Washington Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding and double celling at the jail.

On January 19, 1981, the parties submitted a proposed consent decree, which provided for eventual reduction of the prison's population, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Judge Donald Voorhees). On February 6, 1981, the state discovered an error in the typed body of the consent decree, finding that the plaintiffs' copy listed March 1, 1981 as the target date and the defendants' copy listed April 1, 1981 as the target date. On March 4, due to this discrepancy, the court (Judge Voorhees) denied approval of the consent decree, finding that there had been no meeting of minds between the parties.

On May 15, 1981, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Acceptance of Offer of Settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, stating that they accepted the offer of settlement embodied in the copy of the consent decree that the defendants had submitted to the court. On August 17, 1981, the court (Judge Voorhees) entered the consent decree. The defendant's appealed the entry of the decree.

On June 8, 1982, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Otto Skopil) affirmed the district court's entry of the consent decree. Collins v. Thompson, 679 F.2d 168 (9th Cir. 1982). On September 18, 1989, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order awarding costs and attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs. Collins v. Thompson, 1989 WL 112427 (9th Cir.(Wash.) Sept. 18, 1989).

By 1987, the defendants had achieved the consent decree's final reduction goal of 656 inmates at the prison. Shortly thereafter, the defendants began a renovation project which involved closing half of the cells at the prison. The prisoners were granted a temporary modification of the consent decree, reducing the prisoner population to 348, which reflected the number of cells available during the renovation. In 1989, the defendants appealed the temporary population reduction order and asked the court to dissolve the consent decree. In July 1989, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear the motion to dismiss while the defendant's appeal of the modification was pending. The defendants subsequently withdrew its appeal so that jurisdiction would again vest in the district court.

In February 1990, the defendants filed a second motion to vacate the consent decree. On November 28, 1990, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Judge Barbara Rothstein) denied the defendants' request. The defendants appealed the denial. On August 4, 1992, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Eugene Wright, Judge David Thompson, and Judge Thomas Nelson) reversed the district court's decision and ordered the district court to enter final judgment in the case. Collins v. Thompson, 1992 WL 184328 (9th Cir.(Wash.) Aug. 4, 1992). The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Judge Rothstein) vacated the consent decree and terminated the court's jurisdiction in the case. The plaintiffs appealed.

On October 25, 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Eugene Wright) affirmed the district court's vacation of the consent decree and termination of the case. Collins v. Thompson, 8 F.3d 657 (9th Cir. 1993). The plaintiffs appealed.

On May 31, 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs' petition for writ of certiorari. Collins v. Thompson, 511 U.S. 1127 (1994).

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (4/12/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Nelson, Thomas G. (Idaho)

Skopil, Otto Richard Jr. (Oregon)

Thompson, David R. (California)

Wallace, John Clifford (California)

Wright, Eugene Allen (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adelman, Robert (Washington)

Midgley, John (Washington)

Stalker, Robert A. Jr. (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Blonien, John Scott (Washington)

DeMarco, Pat L. (Washington)

Judge(s)

Nelson, Thomas G. (Idaho)

Skopil, Otto Richard Jr. (Oregon)

Thompson, David R. (California)

Wallace, John Clifford (California)

Wright, Eugene Allen (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adelman, Robert (Washington)

Midgley, John (Washington)

Stalker, Robert A. Jr. (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Blonien, John Scott (Washington)

DeMarco, Pat L. (Washington)

Madden, Michael (Washington)

Mix, Kathleen D (Washington)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

81-03555

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

June 8, 1982

June 8, 1982

Order/Opinion

89-35000

Order

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Sept. 18, 1989

Sept. 18, 1989

Order/Opinion

91-35056

Memorandum

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Aug. 4, 1992

Aug. 4, 1992

Order/Opinion

93-35245

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Oct. 25, 1993

Oct. 25, 1993

Order/Opinion

93-01561

Memorandum Decision

Supreme Court of the United States

May 31, 1994

May 31, 1994

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated Sept. 5, 2022, 3:14 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Washington

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 9, 1978

Closing Date: 1994

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Washington Department of Corrections, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

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: 1981 - 1992

Issues

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run