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Case Name Milonas v. Williams JI-UT-0004
Docket / Court C78-352 ( D. Utah )
State/Territory Utah
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On September 21, 1978, students at the Provo Canyon School for Boys filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against the owners and operators of Provo Canyon School, and various agencies, officers, and employees of the State of ... read more >
On September 21, 1978, students at the Provo Canyon School for Boys filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against the owners and operators of Provo Canyon School, and various agencies, officers, and employees of the State of Utah. The Juvenile Justice Legal Advocacy Project and private counsel represented the class. The plaintiffs sought damages along with injunctive and declaratory relief.

At the Provo Canyon School for Boys students were isolated from the outside world, allowed little to no communication with the outside world, subjected to physical confinement, subjected to physical punishment, and granted progressive restoration of liberty after an investigation of the students' "attitude," "truthfulness," and "future conduct." Students were subject to mandatory physical standing to promote "right thinking" and "social conformity." The students' mail was censored and visitors were discouraged. Negative comments about the institution were prohibited and punished. In order to graduate from confinement, the students' were required to pass a lie detector test. Students were placed at the school either at the insistence of their parents, or by a juvenile court.

The District Court (Judge Bruce S. Jenkins) granted a preliminary injunction and enjoined four practices at the Provo Canyon School: polygraph testing, mail censorship, the use of the "P-room" for isolation, and excessive use of physical force. The court held that these practices were unconstitutional and violated the right to the least restrictive treatment alternative under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Education for the Handicapped Act (EHA), 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq. On August 25, 1980, the District Court filed an exhaustive memorandum issuing its findings of fact and conclusions of law, which was not published. On that date, the court entered a permanent injunction, which merged with the preliminary injunction.

The case was appealed on procedural issues. On May 5, 1981, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit (per curiam) denied the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the defendants' appeal for lack of a final judgment. The court also consolidated two appeals that dealt with whether the plaintiff was the prevailing party and therefore entitled to attorneys' fees and costs. Milonas v. Williams, 648 F.2d 688 (10th Cir. 1981).

On September 13, 1982, the Tenth Circuit (Judge Robert Hugh McWilliams, Jr.) affirmed the District Court's 1980 order establishing the permanent injunction. Milonas v. Williams, 691 F.2d 931 (10th Cir. 1982). The court held that the plaintiffs' removal from the school did not preclude them from having standing required for their representation of the class, that the owners and operators of the private school for youths with behavioral problems were acting "under color of state law" to support the bringing of a section 1983 action, that the record supported a finding that the students' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated, and that the fact that some parents had approved of the behavior-modification program did not make the practices employed necessary.

On April 4, 1983, the Supreme Court denied the defendant's petition for writ of certiorari. Williams v. Milonas, 460 U.S. 1069 (1983).

The only documents we have on this case are the Circuit Court opinions, the Supreme Court denial of certiorari, an incomplete docket, and a memorandum.

Kaitlin Corkran - 05/29/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Utah
Plaintiff Description Boys who were or would be students at the Provo Canyon School for Boys in Utah.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Filed 09/21/1978
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
U.S. Court of Appeals
Reported Opinion (648 F.2d 688)
JI-UT-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
D. Utah
Memorandum: Recommending government participation in Milonas v. Williams [Partial docket info also included]
JI-UT-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
U.S. Court of Appeals
Reported Opinion (691 F.2d 931)
JI-UT-0004-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Supreme Court
Memorandum Decision (460 U.S. 1069)
JI-UT-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Barrett, James Emmett (FISCR, Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
Logan, James Kenneth (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
McKay, Monroe G. (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
McWilliams, Robert Hugh Jr. (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Collard, Kathryn (Utah) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Costello, Jan C. (California) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Soler, Mark I. (California) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Warboys, Loren M. (California) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Christensen, Harold G. (Utah) show/hide docs
Droz, Paul C. (Utah) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Larson, Allan L. (Utah) show/hide docs
Wheeler , Max D. (Utah) show/hide docs
JI-UT-0004-0002 | JI-UT-0004-0003
Other Lawyers Boundy, Kathleen B. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
Dinerstein, Robert D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Hines, Geraldine S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Plotkin, Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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