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Case Name Waddell v. Taylor PC-MS-0011
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00340-TSL-RHW ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
MacArthur Justice Center
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 6,000 incarcerated individuals to challenge the inadequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Mississippi's two largest prisons, alleging that the Mississippi Department of Corrections' response to the pandemic violates the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 6,000 incarcerated individuals to challenge the inadequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Mississippi's two largest prisons, alleging that the Mississippi Department of Corrections' response to the pandemic violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act and the Constitution. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including an order requiring defendants to implement remedial measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The parties jointly stayed all proceedings on September 15 and entered settlement talks on October 22.


On May 14, 2020, nine named plaintiffs brought this class action lawsuit to challenge the Mississippi Department of Corrections's ("MDOC") inadequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Mississippi's two largest prisons: Central Mississippi Correctional Facility ("CMCF") and South Mississippi Correctional Institute ("SMCI"). The plaintiffs, represented by the Mississippi Center for Justice, the ACLU of Mississippi, and private counsel, sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132 et seq. (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §794, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs alleged that MDOC's failure to adequately implement baseline protection measures in response to COVID-19 at CMCF and SMCI violated the Eighth Amendment, the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, they alleged that overcrowding at CMCF and SMCI made social distancing infeasible; that inmates were not provided access to adequate disinfecting supplies; and that systemwide, MDOC had tested less than 0.5% of its prison population for COVID-19. The case was assigned to Judge Tom S. Lee.

The plaintiffs sought to certify a class of inmates who were currently incarcerated, or would be in the future, in CMCF or SMCI during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the plaintiffs sought to certify a "disability subclass" of people who suffered from a disability that substantially limited one or more of their major life activities and who were at increased risk of contracting, becoming severely ill and/or dying from COVID-19 due to their disability or any medical treatment necessary to treat their disability. The § 1983 allegations were brought on behalf of the whole class, while the ADA and Rehabilitation Act violations were brought only on behalf of members of the disability subclass. The plaintiffs in the disability class alleged that the defendants had intentionally discriminated against members of the disability subclass in violation of the ADA Act and the Rehabilitation Act by denying them reasonable accommodations, including accommodations recommended by the CDC.

The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction requiring defendants to take steps to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, including the following: (1) implementing facility-wide protocols for reporting, obtaining soap, etc.; (2) conducting immediate testing for anyone displaying symptoms; (3) implementing remedial measures like intensified cleaning procedures and social distancing; (4) informing inmates of reporting procedures for non-compliant staff members; and (5) providing incarcerated individuals with disinfecting supplies and personal hand soap. Plaintiffs also sought appointment of an independent monitor and attorneys' fees and costs.

On May 25, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, requesting the court to require the defendants to implement efforts to mitigate and manage infection and the spread of COVID-19 at CMCF and SMCI. On August 3, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Robert P. Myers, Jr.

On September 15, the plaintiffs filed a motion to withdraw the previous motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and filed a joint motion with defendants to stay all proceedings. Judge Myers granted the motion on October 1.

On October 22, the parties attended a status conference to initiate settlement negotiations and the case remains ongoing.

Elena Malik - 06/02/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/02/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
COVID-19
Mitigation Requested
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Housing
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
Mississippi Department of Corrections
South Mississippi Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Putative class: All inmates who are currently incarcerated, or will be in the future, in a CMCF of SMCI detention facility during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Putative Subclass: All inmates with a disability who are at increased risk of harm from COVID-19 who are currently incarcerated, or will be in the future, in a CMCF of SMCI detention facility during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
MacArthur Justice Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
Filed 05/14/2020
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. Miss.
01/25/2021
3:20-cv-00340
PC-MS-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Miss.
05/14/2020
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-MS-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Miss.
05/25/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 6 (& 6-1 to 6-15)]
PC-MS-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Miss.
05/25/2020
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 7]
PC-MS-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Lee, Tom Stewart (S.D. Miss.) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Myers, Robert P Jr. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abram, Jonathan L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003
Bech, Madeleine R (California) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003
Hamilton, John P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003
Johnson, Cliff (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003 | PC-MS-0011-9000
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003 | PC-MS-0011-9000
Rupe, Sydney (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003
Tom, Joshua F. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003 | PC-MS-0011-9000
Whitburn, Mark Caddell (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003
Wu, Paloma (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-0001 | PC-MS-0011-0002 | PC-MS-0011-0003 | PC-MS-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Cody C. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Chase, Michael D (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Jones, William Trey (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Miracle, Douglas T. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000
Wheeler, John G (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0011-9000

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