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Case Name Catchings v. Wilson JC-MD-0018
Docket / Court 1:21-cv-00428-GLR ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This class action lawsuit was filed on February 20, 2021 by detainees in the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore, Maryland, who sought extra protections from COVID-19 and, in some cases, release. After the parties negotiated a settlement regarding safety measures to be ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This class action lawsuit was filed on February 20, 2021 by detainees in the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore, Maryland, who sought extra protections from COVID-19 and, in some cases, release. After the parties negotiated a settlement regarding safety measures to be taken, the Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order on March 15, 2021.
This is a lawsuit challenging the Chesapeake Detention Facility's response to COVID-19 and requesting the release of detainees and prisoners. On February 20, 2021 16, 2020, eight named plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit and habeas petition in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the warden of the facility and the secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which operates the facility, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They also petitioned the court for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Represented by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as well as Bryan Cave, the plaintiffs sought to certify two classes, one of pretrial detainees and one of convicted prisoners, as well as a subclass of medically vulnerable pretrial detainees. They also requested injunctive relief to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the facility, the release of members of the medically vulnerable pretrial subclass, and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs claimed that their rights under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by the defendants' response to COVID-19.

The Chesapeake Detention Facility, located in Baltimore, is operated by the State of Maryland, but primarily houses people detained in connection with federal criminal cases on behalf of the United States Marshals Service. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants placed them at risk of contracting COVID-19 by moving individuals within units in the facility, inadequate cleaning and masking, and refusing to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs' rights under the Fifth, Fourteenth, and Eighth Amendments were violated by their exposure to COVID-19, the plaintiffs' placement in solitary confinement due to an indefinite lockdown, and the plaintiffs' inability to challenge their placement in solitary confinement. Additionally, the plaintiffs requested that the court issue writs of habeas corpus to release medically vulnerable pretrial detainees.

The case was assigned to United States District Judge T.S. Ellis. Two days after filing their complaint, on February 20, 2021, the plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order and the certification of a class. However, on March 15, 2021 Judge Ellis denied the motion for a temporary restraining order as moot, citing the parties' "significant points of agreement." Judge Ellis ordered the parties to submit joint statements outlining their agreements and disagreements.

On March 19, 2021, the parties submitted joint statements of agreement and disagreement. The defendants agreed to numerous safety measures, including testing all facility residents on a weekly basis and on arrival, prioritizing single occupancy cells for medically vulnerable residents, ensuring that residents were able to leave their cells for at least 2 hours a day when possible, cohorting residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19, offering vaccinations to eligible residents, and cleaning the facility. The defendants also agreed to produce documents demonstrating their compliance with the agreement to the plaintiffs and allow them to depose facility staff. The agreement allowed the court to resolve disputes between the the parties. However, the parties did have a number of disagreements about the practical mechanics of many provisions of the agreement, including cohorting, testing, solitary confinement, and transfer to other facilities.

As of March 24, 2021, the case is ongoing.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 03/24/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
COVID-19
Mitigation Granted
Mitigation Requested
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Secretary
Warden
Plaintiff Description Pretrial Class: "all people detained in the Chesapeake Detention Facility who are not detained pursuant to a judgment of conviction" Medically Vulnerable Subclass: "all Pretrial Class members whose medical condition renders them especially vulnerable to the coronavirus as determined by guidelines promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" Post-Conviction Class: "all people detained in the Chesapeake Detention Facility who are detained pursuant to a judgment of conviction"
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 02/20/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Court Docket(s)
D. Md.
03/19/2021
1:21-cv-00428-TSE
JC-MD-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Md.
02/20/2021
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under the Fifth/Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [ECF# 1]
JC-MD-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
02/22/2021
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 18-1]
JC-MD-0018-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
02/22/2021
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 19-1]
JC-MD-0018-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
03/15/2021
Order [ECF# 49]
JC-MD-0018-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
03/19/2021
Agreement Between the Plaintiffs and Defendants [ECF# 52-1]
JC-MD-0018-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
03/19/2021
Plaintiffs' Status Report to the Court Regarding Disgreements with Defendants [ECF# 53]
JC-MD-0018-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Ellis, Thomas Selby III (E.D. Va.) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0004 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Nachmanoff, Michael S. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ago, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Farr, Alec W (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Fowler, John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0005 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Mays, Tianna (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Orren, Brett R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006
Schwartz, Daniel C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Shaw, Adam L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Solomon, Joscelyn T (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Swartz, Rochelle F (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-0001 | JC-MD-0018-0002 | JC-MD-0018-0003 | JC-MD-0018-0006 | JC-MD-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lichterman, Ariel S (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-9000
Mellady, Matthew W (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-9000
Mullally, Laura (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0018-9000

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