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Case Name Ogden v. Figgens JC-KS-0011
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-02268 ( D. Kan. )
State/Territory Kansas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
On April 28, 2016, family members of inmates at the Wilson County Correctional Facility filed this class action in the U.S. District Court of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued the Sheriff’s office for Wilson County, Kansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments ... read more >
On April 28, 2016, family members of inmates at the Wilson County Correctional Facility filed this class action in the U.S. District Court of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued the Sheriff’s office for Wilson County, Kansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Represented by the ACLU, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, class certification, and attorneys’ fees. The jail implemented a policy that prohibited inmates and their correspondents from sending letters enclosed in envelopes. Instead, inmates were required to conduct all correspondence on pre-paid U.S. Postal cards. The plaintiffs claimed this impermissibly restricted outside correspondents from exercising their right to communicate with inmates in writing in violation of the First Amendment. Further, the plaintiffs contended that the postcard-only policy violated due process protections of the Fourteenth Amendment because neither sender nor recipient had any way of knowing that their mail had been rejected.

Judge Julie A. Robinson granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification on August 4, 2016 since the defendants never responded to the plaintiffs’ motion. Judge Robinson defined the class as “all current and future outside correspondents who wish to write letters to, and/or receive letters from, inmates in the Wilson County Correctional Facility and who are subject to or affected by the Postcard-Only Mail Policy.” The court noted that the class included only outside correspondents seeking to send mail to the inmates—not the inmates themselves. 315 F.R.D. 670.

The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale on April 28, 2016. Judge Gale oversaw the parties’ settlement negotiations from October 15, 2016 until the parties reached a settlement agreement on June 16, 2017. On July 19 of the same year, Judge Robinson granted the parties’ joint motion for a preliminary class action settlement. After a fairness hearing, the court found the settlement proposed by the parties to be fair, reasonable, and adequate and approved the agreement and consent decree on November 3, 2017. 2017 WL 5068906.

Per the terms of the settlement, the sheriff’s office was given 21 days to revise its mail policies so as to not restrict the volume or method of letters sent to inmates of Wilson County Correctional from outside correspondents. The defendants agreed to give notice of the settlement to all the members of the class through publication of the results in a local paper and through posting flyers in each visitation area in the jail. The Court adopted the consent decree while retaining jurisdiction to enforce its terms and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice on November 3. 2017 WL 5068906. One critical factor leading to settlement was the plaintiffs’ promise to significantly reduce attorneys’ fees requested to less than $100 an hour.

The case has been marked “closed” on the docket since the November 3, 2017 order. However, as of July 31, 2020, the case remains under jurisdiction of the court for enforcement of the decree under the PLRA.

Julia Florey - 02/18/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Wilson County
Plaintiff Description All current and future outside correspondents who wish to write letters to, and/or receive letters from, inmates in the Wilson County Correctional Facility and who are subject to or affected by the Postcard-Only Mail Policy.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filed 04/28/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Kan.
11/03/2017
2:16−cv−02268
JC-KS-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Kan.
04/28/2016
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-KS-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
08/04/2016
Memorandum and Order to Certify Class [ECF# 11] (315 F.R.D. 670)
JC-KS-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
06/16/2017
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement and Memorandum of Law in Support [ECF# 25]
JC-KS-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
06/16/2017
Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree [ECF# 25-1]
JC-KS-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
06/16/2017
Notice of Proposed Settlement [ECF# 25-2]
JC-KS-0011-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
11/03/2017
Order to Approve Settlement and Consent Decree [ECF# 29] (2017 WL 5068906)
JC-KS-0011-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gale, Kenneth G (D. Kan.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-9000
Robinson, Julie A. (D. Kan.) show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-0002 | JC-KS-0011-0004 | JC-KS-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bonney, Stephen Douglas (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-0001 | JC-KS-0011-0003 | JC-KS-0011-0007 | JC-KS-0011-9000
Glickman, Joshua Aaron (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-0001 | JC-KS-0011-0003 | JC-KS-0011-0005 | JC-KS-0011-0007 | JC-KS-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Holder, Andrew D (Kansas) show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-0003 | JC-KS-0011-9000
Mock, Terelle A (Kansas) show/hide docs
JC-KS-0011-0003 | JC-KS-0011-0005 | JC-KS-0011-9000

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