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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Morgan County, Tennessee JC-TN-0010
Docket / Court 3:00-cv-00089 ( E.D. Tenn )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This is a case about jail conditions in Morgan County, TN. On February 10, 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against Morgan County, TN, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which was assigned to Judge James H. Jarvis. The DOJ alleged that ... read more >
This is a case about jail conditions in Morgan County, TN. On February 10, 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against Morgan County, TN, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which was assigned to Judge James H. Jarvis. The DOJ alleged that Morgan County “failed to provide [detainees] adequate security, medical and mental health care, fire safety, sanitation, or access to courts.” This lawsuit followed a 1997 investigation of Morgan County Jail that “found that the jail was unsanitary, dangerously understaffed, and lacked basic medical and mental health care systems,” and that there had been “escapes, suicide attempts, and sexual assault and harassment of female inmates by jail staff and inmates.” (Department of Justice Press Release, 2/10/2000).

The case was filed under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1997 et seq. It is unknown what sort of relief was sought, but it was likely injunctive or injunctive-like relief as authorized by § 1997a ordering Morgan County to improve the jail. Morgan County demanded a jury, but Judge Jarvis granted the DOJ’s motion to strike their jury demand. A trial date was set for April 9, 2001, but prior to trial, the DOJ and Morgan County filed a joint motion for conditional dismissal, and filed a settlement agreement on June 27, 2000.

The settlement “provided for renovation or construction of the Jail to eliminate suicide hazards, provide sufficient living space for inmates, and improve fire safety, general safety and sanitation; hiring and training of additional staff; maintenance of contracts to provide adequate medical, dental and mental health services; improvements in inmate access to legal materials, privacy and protections from harassment for female inmates, as well as new policies and procedures to prevent sexual misconduct by staff.”(CRIPA Activities in FY 2000).

On June 28, 2000, Judge Jarvis granted the motion for a dismissal conditioned on Morgan County’s compliance with the settlement. The case was moved to the inactive docket, although the Court retained jurisdiction.

On July 17, 2006, the DOJ moved to dismiss the case, stating in their motion that based on compliance reports, documents, and expert consultants, including on-site observations and interviews of incarcerated individuals, Morgan County was substantially complying with the terms of the settlement.

Judge Jarvis dismissed the case with prejudice on July 20, 2006. The CRIPA spreadsheet, which the Clearinghouse obtained through a FOIA request, says that the matter closed on July 28, 2006.

Samuel Poortenga - 02/08/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
Hire
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Morgan County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description The Department of Justice.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Conditional Dismissal
Order Duration 2000 - 2006
Filed 02/10/2000
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Tenn
07/31/2006
3:00−cv−00089
JC-TN-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
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Judges Jarvis, James Howard II (E.D. Tenn) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barrick, Andrew J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Evans, Kelli M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Kirkpatrick, Carl K (Tennessee) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Judkins, Joe R (Tennessee) show/hide docs
JC-TN-0010-9000

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