University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Human Rights Defense Center v. Winn PC-MI-0046
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-12470-TLL-PTM ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) is a non-profit publisher of Prison Legal News and other publications for prisoners. After many issues of Prison Legal News were withheld from prisoners in Michigan from 2016 to 2019, HRDC filed this lawsuit on August 22, 2019, in U.S. District Court for the ... read more >
The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) is a non-profit publisher of Prison Legal News and other publications for prisoners. After many issues of Prison Legal News were withheld from prisoners in Michigan from 2016 to 2019, HRDC filed this lawsuit on August 22, 2019, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. it sued the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) under Section 1983. HRDC was represented by its own counsel, along with co-counsel from Honigman and the MSU Law School Civil Rights Clinic. The complaint alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and sought injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages, attorneys' fees, and a jury trial.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that issues of Prison Legal News, as well as some other one-off HRDC publications, were withheld from prisoners between September 2016 and July 2019. Different issues were withheld at different prisons, and the complaint lists 22 different Michigan prisons where materials were withheld at some point. This is the alleged censorship under the First Amendment. HRDC also alleged that MDOC almost never provided notice that it was withholding materials, and failed to offer any process for HRDC to appeal its decision. HRDC did appeal a few times by sending letters to some of the prisons in question, and those appeals were all denied except for one. This is the alleged Fourteenth Amendment due process claim.

The judge on the case is Judge Thomas L. Ludington. On Jan. 6, 2020, the judge denied injunctive relief and dismissed all defendants except for the Director of MDOC. 431 F.Supp.3d 925. Discovery is due at the end of July 2020, and a settlement conference and pre-trial hearing are also scheduled.

Hetali Lodaya - 05/18/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Director of MDOC
Plaintiff Description Human Rights Defense Center - nonprofit that publishes written materials such as Prison Legal News for distribution in prisons, as well as materials related to prison/criminal justice topics.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 08/22/2019
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)
  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Mich.
04/24/2020
1:19-cv-12470-TLL-PTM
PC-MI-0046-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Mich.
08/22/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MI-0046-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
10/23/2019
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 24]
PC-MI-0046-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
01/06/2020
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 32] (2020 WL 59698)
PC-MI-0046-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Ludington, Thomas Lamson (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0003 | PC-MI-0046-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dawson, Rian Cierra (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002 | PC-MI-0046-9000
Manville, Daniel E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002 | PC-MI-0046-9000
Marshall, Daniel (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002 | PC-MI-0046-9000
Mutamba, Masimba (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001
Pauwels, Andrew (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002 | PC-MI-0046-9000
Stewart, James Edward Sr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-0001 | PC-MI-0046-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Barkman, Cori E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-9000
Foster, Jennifer A (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0046-9000

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