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Case Name Baxley v. Jividen CJ-WV-0001
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-01526 ( S.D. W. Va. )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs in this West Virginia jail conditions class-action case filed an emergency motion for relief on March 25, 2020, seeking an order to require the defendants to develop, disclose, and implement a plan to take appropriate actions to protect the plaintiff class from ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs in this West Virginia jail conditions class-action case filed an emergency motion for relief on March 25, 2020, seeking an order to require the defendants to develop, disclose, and implement a plan to take appropriate actions to protect the plaintiff class from COVID-19. The court denied the motion because it found that the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim.


On December 18, 2018, the plaintiff, a pretrial detainee at West Virginia's Western Regional Jail, filed a pro se complaint against the jail in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The plaintiff alleged that he had been exposed to unsanitary conditions in the jail, including a lack of clean clothes, filthy showers, and inmates with staph and other infections.

The case was assigned to Judge Robert C. Chambers. On April 25, 2019, two cases were consolidated with this case (Docket No. 3:18-1436 and 3:18-1533) because they involved common questions of law and fact. That same day, the plaintiffs filed the first amended class action complaint on behalf of all "inmates housed in jail facilities throughout West Virginia." Represented by Mountain State Justice, the plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (42 U.S.C. § 12132). The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the unconstitutional conditions within the jail. Specifically, they alleged discrimination against those with disabilities, failure to promptly provide necessary medical and mental health treatment, and failure to provide sanitary living conditions.

The defendants moved to dismiss on September 23, 2019. The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on December 19, adding additional plaintiffs to the case. The plaintiffs also moved for class certification on February 3, proposing a class that consisted of "All persons who were at any time on or after December 18, 2018, or who will be, admitted to a jail in West Virginia with a discernable, treatable medical and/or mental health problem." The plaintiffs also sought to certify a subclass of incarcerated individuals that met "the definition of being a “qualified individual with a disability” under the ADA."

On March 25, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in light of COVID-19. They requested that the court order the defendants to create, implement, and disclose an appropriate evidence-based plan to help prevent a COVID-19 outbreak, to minimize the impact if an outbreak were to occur, and to contribute to broader efforts to "flatten the curve." They requested a plan that included: inmate and staff education, requiring staff who experience COVID-19 symptoms to stay home until tested (or for a mandatory 14 days), healthcare and custodial staffing plans to keep the facilities running safely as staff members stay at home, staffing plans for services provided by detainees and prisoners themselves as they get sick, screening, testing, treatment, and housing of plaintiffs, plans for additional precautions to prevent exposure of vulnerable populations, provision of hygiene and cleaning supplies to all inmates, housing plans for inmates exposed to the virus, enhanced plans for cleaning shared spaces, coordination with community hospitals, and the removal of charges for methods of communication and psychological support while visitation is eliminated. They additionally requested that the court order some of those held to be released so that jails could practice proper social distancing and permit the appropriate quarantine and treatments of individuals in custody who get COVID-19.

On April 1, Judge Chambers issued an order directing the defendants to provide a redacted copy of their COVID-19 response plan to the Court, and to plaintiff's counsel and their expert witness by 5 p.m. that day. Following this, the expert was required to respond by 5 p.m. on April 2. The defendants were to provide a response to the expert before April 3 at 3 p.m. The court scheduled a hearing for April 6, 2020.

On April 8, the court issued an opinion denying the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction because their claim was unlikely to succeed on the merits. The court stated that the defendants had been responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and had produced a comprehensive plan to address the spread of the virus in the state jails and prisons. Furthermore, the court was unwilling to choose a fixed number to release as the plaintiffs had requested. Finally, the court said that because there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia prisons, the timing of the motion was also a factor in the decision -- specifically, it was impossible to conclude that the defendants had acted with the required deliberate indifference that would lead to an Eighth Amendment violation. The court stated that as time progressed, if the defendants' current plan was unable to address the spread of COVID-19 in the prisons and jails effectively, the plaintiffs would have a greater likelihood of success on the merits. 2020 WL 1802935.

The ACLU of West Virginia moved to intervene on April 10, for the limited purpose of seeking to unseal court records. The ACLU argued that the response plans for correctional facilities in response to COVID-19 had significant implications for incarcerated people, their loved ones, and the employees of West Virginia's correctional facilities, and should not remain under seal. Intervention was granted on April 15.

On April 23, the court granted in part and denied in part the ACLU of West Virginia's Expedited Motion to Unseal Court Records. 2020 WL 1958632. The Court found that the defendants concerns that unsealing documents would risk anxiety and retaliation amongst the incarcerated population was not sufficient to overcome the First Amendment right of access. However, the Court declined to unseal and unredact the jail's COVID-19 plan, as the Court had not even asked for an unredacted version.

The plaintiffs agreed to a voluntary dismissal of their conditions-of-confinement claim on May 22.

In July, multiple defendants moved for summary judgment, but the court found that the defendants’ motions were moot on October 29, 2020 because the court had already dismissed those plaintiffs with prejudice for failing to prosecute their case. 2020 WL 6365451.

A few months later, on December 21, 2020, the court denied in part and granted in part the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. 2020 WL 7489760. The court granted the defendants’ motions as to five plaintiffs’ ADA claims, finding that those plaintiffs had failed to state claims under the Act. However, the Court found that a sixth plaintiff had stated a claim under the ADA. In addition to this last surviving ADA claim, the plaintiffs' Eighth Amendment claims were allowed to proceed, as the Court found that the defendants’ inaction rose to the level of deliberate indifference to prisoners’ mental and medical health. Finally, the Court noted that the claims were not moot because the plaintiffs were litigating on behalf of a class, and that the plaintiffs had not failed to exhaust their administrative remedies because the jail’s grievance process were not sufficiently available to the incarcerated plaintiffs. The court dismissed the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation from the case pursuant to the plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissal, leaving the case to proceed against the Division Commissioner.

On the same day in a separate decision, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification as to the plaintiffs’ “Jail Class,” but reserved judgment on the plaintiffs’ "Disability Subclass" because only one of the plaintiff’s ADA claims remained. 2020 WL 7489759. The Jail Class included all persons who were or would be admitted to a jail in West Virginia. The disability subclass included all persons who were or would be admitted to a jail in West Virginia and who were disabled within the meaning of the ADA. The court ordered the parties to file memoranda regarding the suitability of the disability subclass class for certification.

On January 5, 2021, filed a petition for permission to appeal the order granting class certification, but the petition was denied.

As of March 12, 2021, the case is ongoing as the parties participate in mediation proceedings.

Caitlin Kierum - 04/17/2020
Mary Novakovic - 10/07/2020
Becca Rogers - 12/25/2020
Tessa McEvoy - 03/12/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
COVID-19
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Denied
Release Requested
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Commissioner
West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Description Both current and future detainees and prisoners in the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 12/18/2018
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)
S.D. W. Va.
03/02/2021
3:18-cv-01526
CJ-WV-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. W. Va.
12/18/2018
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-WV-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/25/2019
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 18]
CJ-WV-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
12/19/2019
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 67]
CJ-WV-0001-0028.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
02/03/2020
Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 88]
CJ-WV-0001-0027.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
03/25/2020
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction Regarding Defendants' Prevention, Management, and Treatment of COVID-19 [ECF# 161 (& 161-1 to 161-8)]
CJ-WV-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
03/26/2020
Declaration of Dr. Craig W. Haney, PHD [ECF# 162]
CJ-WV-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
03/27/2020
Plaintiffs' Notice of Supplemental Authority in Support of their Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction Regarding Defendants' Prevention, Management, and Treatment of COVID-19 [ECF# 166, 166-1, 166-2]
CJ-WV-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
03/30/2020
Exhibit 3 [ECF# 169]
CJ-WV-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/01/2020
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Emergency Motion [DOC 161] [ECF# 173 (& 173-1 to 173-3)]
CJ-WV-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/01/2020
Order [ECF# 176]
CJ-WV-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/08/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 183] (2020 WL 1802935)
CJ-WV-0001-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/10/2020
Memorandum in Support of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia's Expedited Motion for Leave to Intervene for the Limited Purpose of Seeking to Unseal Court Records [ECF# 187]
CJ-WV-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/15/2020
Order [ECF# 193]
CJ-WV-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
04/22/2020
Defendants' Supplement to Response in Opposition to Motion to Unseal Court Records [ECF# 198, 198-1]
CJ-WV-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Amber Arnett and Eric L. Jones [ECF# 260, 261, 260-1, 260-2]
CJ-WV-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to John Baxley, Jr. [ECF# 263, 265]
CJ-WV-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 264, 279]
CJ-WV-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Heather Reed [ECF# 267, 268]
CJ-WV-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Earl Edmondson [ECF# 269, 270]
CJ-WV-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Danny Spiker [ECF# 271, 272]
CJ-WV-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment at to Donna Wells-Wright [ECF# 273, 274]
CJ-WV-0001-0019.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Robert Watson [ECF# 275, 276]
CJ-WV-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/17/2020
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Joshua Hall [ECF# 277, 278]
CJ-WV-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/29/2020
Defendants' Motion to Stay Magistrate's Order [ECF# 292, 293]
CJ-WV-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
07/30/2020
Order [ECF# 294]
CJ-WV-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
10/29/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 353] (2020 WL 6365451)
CJ-WV-0001-0026.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
12/21/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 357] (2020 WL 7489759)
CJ-WV-0001-0024.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. W. Va.
12/21/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 358] (2020 WL 7489760)
CJ-WV-0001-0025.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Aboulhosn, Omar J. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0023
Chambers, Robert Charles (S.D. W. Va.) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0008 | CJ-WV-0001-0009 | CJ-WV-0001-0011 | CJ-WV-0001-0024 | CJ-WV-0001-0025 | CJ-WV-0001-0026 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kincaid, Rachel J (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0001 | CJ-WV-0001-0003 | CJ-WV-0001-0005 | CJ-WV-0001-0015 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Milnes, Lydia C (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0001 | CJ-WV-0001-0003 | CJ-WV-0001-0005 | CJ-WV-0001-0007 | CJ-WV-0001-0015 | CJ-WV-0001-0027 | CJ-WV-0001-0028 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Stark, Loree Beth (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0010 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Wagner, Jennifer S (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0001 | CJ-WV-0001-0003 | CJ-WV-0001-0004 | CJ-WV-0001-0005 | CJ-WV-0001-0007 | CJ-WV-0001-0015 | CJ-WV-0001-0027 | CJ-WV-0001-0028 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Arceneaux, Webster J. III (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0012 | CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0014 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Gottlieb, Richard L. (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0012 | CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0014 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Marino, Briana J. (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0012 | CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0014 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Morrisey, Patrick (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0012 | CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022
Murray, William E. (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-9000
Raupp, Valerie Harris (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0014 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Stebbins, James C. (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-0012 | CJ-WV-0001-0013 | CJ-WV-0001-0014 | CJ-WV-0001-0016 | CJ-WV-0001-0017 | CJ-WV-0001-0018 | CJ-WV-0001-0019 | CJ-WV-0001-0020 | CJ-WV-0001-0021 | CJ-WV-0001-0022 | CJ-WV-0001-9000
Other Lawyers O'Hare, Anne Liles (West Virginia) show/hide docs
CJ-WV-0001-9000

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