University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Tate v. Kassulke JC-KY-0001
Docket / Court 3:75-cv-00031-CRS ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On January 30, 1975, the plaintiffs, inmates of the Jefferson County Jail (Jail), brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking injunctive relief with respect to alleged violations of their constitutional rights. The alleged ... read more >
On January 30, 1975, the plaintiffs, inmates of the Jefferson County Jail (Jail), brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking injunctive relief with respect to alleged violations of their constitutional rights. The alleged constitutional violations included the lack of sanitary conditions, access to showers, access to recreation, vermin infested conditions, lack of medical attention, cruel beatings, unconstitutional reading of mail and lack due process with respect to solitary confinement and segregation. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the Legal Aid Society. On March 4, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (Judge Charles Allen) held that visitation regulations were overly broad and overly stringent, that various hearing procedures would be required with respect to administrative segregation at time of arrival at the jail or for disciplinary infractions, and that the regulation relating to ""disturbance"" was invalid for vagueness. Tate v. Kassulke, 409 F.Supp. 651 (W.D.Ky. 1976). Judge Allen further ordered that a committee with three members be appointed to visit the jail unannounced at least once a month to determine that plumbing facilities are operating correctly and that the inmates are given clean clothes, bedding and soap at least once a week. The court held that no right to relief had been established with respect to sanitary conditions, alleged brutality of jail guards, use of the mails, establishment of jail library, medical care and allegedly superior facilities in the women's portion of the jail.

The inmates filed an amended complaint in 1980 alleging further constitutional infringements resulting from overcrowded conditions at the Jefferson County Jail. On March 15, 1983, county officials named as defendants in this subsequent litigation successfully joined as third-party defendants certain Kentucky state corrections officials because of their refusal to timely accept felons incarcerated in the Jail awaiting transfer to state facilities. On May 19, 1983, Judge Allen issued a mandatory injunction against the state corrections officials ordering them to immediately reduce the number of convicted felons awaiting transfer at the Jail to no more than thirty felons. The injunction further instructed the state corrections officials to transfer each convicted felon confined at the Jail within thirty days after imposition of sentence. On June 1, 1984, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's joinder of state officials as third-party defendants. Tate v. Frey, 735 F.2d 986 (6th Cir. 1984). The court also upheld the district court's preliminary injunction by holding that federal law barring federal courts from ordering state officials to comply with state law did not preclude the issuance of a preliminary injunction against state corrections officials in this case.

On October 16, 1987, Judge Allen held state corrections officials in civil contempt for violating the terms of the preliminary injunction and ordered them to pay fines for each instance of overcrowding. Tate v. Frey, 673 F.Supp. 880 (W.D.Ky. 1987). Judge Allen also ordered that the state should stop placing parole violators in the Jail until the population limits were no longer violated. Litigation over the terms of the injunction and attorney's fees continued until the case was closed on October 16, 2000.

Tom Madison - 02/04/2006

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Crowding / caseload
Sex discrimination
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Jefferson County Jail
Plaintiff Description Inmates of Jefferson county jail.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1976 - 2000
Filed 01/30/1975
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
W.D. Ky.
JC-KY-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Ky.
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (409 F.Supp. 651)
JC-KY-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (735 F.2d 986)
JC-KY-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
W.D. Ky.
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and and Memorandum Opinion (673 F.Supp. 880)
JC-KY-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Allen, Charles Mengel (W.D. Ky.) show/hide docs
JC-KY-0001-0001 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Celebrezze, Anthony Joseph (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
Engel, Albert Joseph (W.D. Mich., Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
Krupansky, Robert B. (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
Simpson, Charles Ralph III (W.D. Ky.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berggren, Kurt (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Friedman, David A. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
JC-KY-0001-0003 | JC-KY-0001-9000
Friedman, Ellen G. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Littlefield, Robert H. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Marstin, Ronald Eric (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Martin, Eleanor F. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Smith, Walker Bledsoe (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Stuckey, Curtis B. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Townes, W. Waverley (Kentucky) show/hide docs
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Cooper, Linda G. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Cordery, Suzanne D. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Durham, Stephen (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Jones, Barbara Willett (Kentucky) show/hide docs
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003 | JC-KY-0001-9000
Lilly, N. Scott (Kentucky) show/hide docs
McCartney, R. Allen (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Mobley, Joseph V. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
Sexton, David A. (Kentucky) show/hide docs

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -