University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name Baez v. McDonald JC-MA-0019
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-10753 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: On April 17, 2020, individuals detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) filed this putative class action complaint addressing safety concerns posed by COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought emergency risk-mitigation procedures and release measures to reduce the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: On April 17, 2020, individuals detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) filed this putative class action complaint addressing safety concerns posed by COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought emergency risk-mitigation procedures and release measures to reduce the population at the PCCF. On May 18, the court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs filed a voluntary dismissal on October 8, 2020.


On April 17, 2020, federal detainees at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) filed this putative class action complaint at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, addressing safety concerns posed by COVID-19. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and as an injunctive and declaratory action under 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that conditions of confinement lacked reasonable preventative measures in response to the heightened health risks from COVID-19, in violation of their Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights. They pointed to ongoing failures by the defendant to comply with basic safety measures under the interim guidelines provided for correctional facilities by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including its social distancing requirement. The plaintiffs sought a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), declaratory and injunctive relief, and a writ of habeas corpus ordering immediate action to reduce the population at the PCCF and institute proper hygienic measures, with an independent monitor to ensure compliance. Concurrently, the plaintiffs filed a motion requesting that all federal detainees held or to be held by the PCCF be granted class certification. The case was assigned to Judge Leo T. Sorokin.

On April 20, the defendants filed an emergency motion to stay the consideration of the proposed class certification, or a two-week extension to file a response to the motion for class certification in the alternative. The court granted the motion on the same day.

The next day, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, as there were no cases of COVID-19 in PCCF in the detainee population as of April 20, and the petitioners did not have underlying medical conditions. A second motion was filed on April 24, further submitting that the requested remedies by the plaintiffs involved a challenge to the fact or duration of their confinement, outside of the writ of habeas.

The defendant submitted a status report confirming three cases of COVID-19 among employees on April 29. A hearing was held the next day.

On May 1, the court ordered the defendant to answer a list of questions addressing disputed factual questions and unclear matters by May 6. Questions include housing arrangements of the proposed class, policies governing face masks, testing capacity in the PCCF, as well as the respondents’ response to the three confirmed cases of COVID-19. The defendants submitted a status report confirming two additional cases of COVID-19 among employees on May 5, and report of one additional case on May 12.

On May 18, the court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that the plaintiffs' claims fell within the scope of a habeas petition and that the plaintiffs’ failure to satisfy the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement is not grounds for dismissal. The court also denied the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction because they failed to meet their burden of establishing that they were likely to succeed in showing that the defendant had been deliberately indifferent to the risk of COVID-19. The court further ordered that the parties file a joint status report regarding how the matter should proceed, and ordered the defendant to file a status report explaining whether and how PCCF is expanding its testing in line with the institution-wide testing occurring in DOC facilities and its reasoning by May 27.

On May 27, the defendants reported that they did not plan to institute institution-wide testing occurring in DOC facilities because it was the medical opinion of PCCF’s medical director that such measures were not warranted at PCCF in the present circumstances.

According to the latest status report on June 2, one employee at PCCF tested positive. 28 detainees were tested with two results coming back positive.

According to the June 24 status report, 53 individuals at PCCF were tested, with two positive results from pretrial detainees and one from a former detainee who tested positive following his release.

The plaintiffs filed a voluntary dismissal on October 8, 2020.

Averyn Lee - 09/25/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/21/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Plymouth County Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description Detainees of the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) seeking preventative measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed class is a class of all federal detainees who are now or who will be detained at the PCCF, pending trial or pending sentencing in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 04/17/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Mass.
10/08/2020
1:20-cv-10753
JC-MA-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Mass.
04/17/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1 (& 1-1 to 1-12)]
JC-MA-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/17/2020
Motion for Class Certification and Memorandum of Law in Support [ECF# 6, 7]
JC-MA-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/17/2020
Application for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunctive Relief and Petitioners and Proposed Class Members' Memorandum in Support [ECF# 9, 10]
JC-MA-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/21/2020
Respondent Antone Moniz's Motion to Deny Petitioners' Habeas Petition for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim and Memorandum of Law in Support [ECF# 21, 22]
JC-MA-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/21/2020
Respondent Antone Moniz's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Petitioners' Application for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 23]
JC-MA-0019-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/24/2020
Petitioners' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Respondent's Motion to Deny Petitioner's Habeas Petition [ECF# 38]
JC-MA-0019-0014.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/24/2020
Respondent Antone Moniz's Second Motion to Deny Petitioners' Habeas Petition for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction [ECF# 39 & 40]
JC-MA-0019-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/27/2020
Reply in Support of Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 45]
JC-MA-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/28/2020
Petitioners' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Respondent's Second Motion to Deny Petitioners' Habeas Petition [ECF# 46]
JC-MA-0019-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/28/2020
Respondent Antone Moniz's Reply in Further Support of His Motion to Deny Petitioners' Habeas Petition for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim [ECF# 47]
JC-MA-0019-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/01/2020
Order [ECF# 52]
JC-MA-0019-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/06/2020
Respondent Antone Moniz's Response to the Court's Order Dated May 1, 2020 [ECF# 54 (& 54-1 & 54-2)]
JC-MA-0019-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/07/2020
Petitioners' Supplemental Memorandum [ECF# 56 (& 56-1 to 56-7)]
JC-MA-0019-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/08/2020
Respondent's Supplement [ECF# 57 (& 57-1 to 57-4)]
JC-MA-0019-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/18/2020
Order on Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 21, 39) and Application for Injunctive Relief (Doc. No. 9) [ECF# 64] (2020 WL 2527865)
JC-MA-0019-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Sorokin, Leo Theodore (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0008 | JC-MA-0019-0012 | JC-MA-0019-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Basaria, Saraa (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0001 | JC-MA-0019-0002 | JC-MA-0019-0003 | JC-MA-0019-0005 | JC-MA-0019-0006 | JC-MA-0019-0010 | JC-MA-0019-0014 | JC-MA-0019-9000
Cloherty, Daniel J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0001 | JC-MA-0019-0002 | JC-MA-0019-0003 | JC-MA-0019-0005 | JC-MA-0019-0006 | JC-MA-0019-0010 | JC-MA-0019-0014 | JC-MA-0019-9000
McCall, Adam W. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0003 | JC-MA-0019-0005 | JC-MA-0019-0006 | JC-MA-0019-0010 | JC-MA-0019-0014 | JC-MA-0019-9000
Rudin, David E. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0001 | JC-MA-0019-0002 | JC-MA-0019-0003 | JC-MA-0019-0005 | JC-MA-0019-0006 | JC-MA-0019-0010 | JC-MA-0019-0014 | JC-MA-0019-9000
Schulman, Emily R. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0001 | JC-MA-0019-0002 | JC-MA-0019-0003 | JC-MA-0019-0005 | JC-MA-0019-0006 | JC-MA-0019-0010 | JC-MA-0019-0014 | JC-MA-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Goldstein, Rachel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-9000
Lelling, Andrew E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0004 | JC-MA-0019-0007 | JC-MA-0019-0009 | JC-MA-0019-0011 | JC-MA-0019-0013 | JC-MA-0019-0015
Weida, Jason C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
JC-MA-0019-0004 | JC-MA-0019-0007 | JC-MA-0019-0009 | JC-MA-0019-0011 | JC-MA-0019-0013 | JC-MA-0019-0015 | JC-MA-0019-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -