University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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S P E C I A L   C O L L E C T I O N
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

This page collects cases that address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, etc. (We're not able to catalog every single-person request for release, but are presenting the cases affecting multiple persons.) We have also made this CSV report available, which shows some details of these cases.

In addition to cases, in many states there have been court orders directing releases and other COVID-19 responses. To see a catalog of these, check out the Prison Policy Initiative's list of jail/prison-related COVID-19 responses, and the spreadsheet compiled by the UCLA Law School, here.

If you know of a case NOT listed here, please email us: clearinghouse@umich.edu (We'll try to update this page in close-to-real-time.)
The below cases represent a special subset of the full Clearinghouse collection.
Your search returned 458 results Save Search As:       
1 Catchings v. Wilson
1:21-cv-00428-GLR (D. Md.)
Filed 02/20/2021 - Case Ongoing
Warden
Chesapeake Detention Facility
Jail Conditions
JC-MD-0018
Baltimore City
Coding Complete
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 ... [view]
2 Harper v. Cuomo
9:21-cv-00019 (N.D.N.Y.)
Filed 01/08/2021 - Case Ongoing
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Prison Conditions
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
PC-NY-0081
Albany County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This putative class action was filed on June 16, 2020 by medically vulnerable prisoners in New York's Adirondack Correctional Facility. The plaintiffs sought extra protections from COVID-19. A magistrate judge denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on March 1, 2021.
This is a case about COVID-19 precautions ... [view]
3 Public Counsel v. Presiding Judge, Superior Court of LA Cty
21STCV05124 (State Court)
Filed 2021 - Case Ongoing
no defendants on record
Criminal Justice (Other)
CJ-CA-0028
Coding In Process
Summary not yet on record [view]
4 Holden v. Zucker
801592/2021E (State Court)
Filed 2021 - Case Ongoing
no defendants on record
Prison Conditions
PC-NY-0085
Coding In Process
Summary not yet on record [view]
5 Ryan v. Smith
3:20-cv-00843-SDD-SDJ (M.D. La.)
Filed 12/14/2020 - Case Ongoing
Judges
19th Judicial District Court of Louisiana
Criminal Justice (Other)
CJ-LA-0014
East Baton Rouge Parish
Coding Complete
COVID Summary: This is a class action suit regarding the legality of detention orders that are holding detainees at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for up to years and detrimental to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on December 14, 2020, but withdrew the request for ... [view]
6 Weikert v. Elder
1:20-cv-03646 (D. Colo.)
Filed 12/13/2020 - Case Ongoing
Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado
El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Jail Conditions
JC-CO-0012
El Paso County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This putative class action was filed on December 20, 2020 by a group of medically vulnerable detainees at the El Paso County Jail in Colorado, seeking reasonable COVID-19 safety measures. The Court granted a stipulated preliminary injunction on January 4, 2021.
This case is about the detainment conditions of individuals ... [view]
7 Smith v. Barr
2:20-cv-00630-JRS (S.D. Ind.)
Filed 11/25/2020 - Closed 2021
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Prison Conditions
Criminal Justice (Other)
PC-IN-0027
Washington
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: Two individuals incarcerated at Terre Haute Correctional Complex filed this lawsuit on behalf of all individuals who were or would be incarcerated at Terre Haute during the COVID-19 pandemic. They sought injunctive relief to stop the defendants from conducting federal executions, which drew hundreds of individuals from all over ... [view]
8 Agudath Israel of America v. Cuomo
1:20-cv-04834 (E.D.N.Y.)
Filed 10/08/2020 - Case Ongoing
Governor of New York
Speech and Religious Freedom
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
PR-NY-0010
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: A group of Orthodox Jewish synagogues brought this lawsuit against the Governor of New York on October 8, 2020, alleging that the governor's restrictions on gatherings in light of surges in COVID-19 cases violated the Free Exercise Clause. After the district court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, they ... [view]
9 P.J.E.S v. Wolf
1:20-cv-02245 (D.D.C.)
Filed 08/24/2020 - Case Ongoing
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and/or the Border
IM-DC-0087
District of Columbia County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This putative class action case challenges the government’s use of an emergency public health order issued under 42 U.S.C. § 265 to restrict immigration of unaccompanied minors. Pursuant to the emergency public order, the government has expelled unaccompanied children without following usual immigration laws, saying the ... [view]
10 National Urban League v. Ross
5:20-cv-05799 (N.D. Cal.)
Filed 08/18/2020 - Case Ongoing
U.S. Department of Commerce
Public Benefits / Government Services
PB-CA-0056
Coding Complete
On August 18, 2020, a coalition of cities, counties, Indian tribes, advocacy organizations, and individuals represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP sued the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Department”), the Department Secretary, the U.S. Census Bureau (“ ... [view]
11 League of Women Voters of Oklahoma v. Ziriax
118765 (State Court)
Filed 08/14/2020 - Closed 2020
Secretary of Oklahoma State Board of Elections Paul Ziriax
Oklahoma State Board of Elections
Election/Voting Rights
VR-OK-0019
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a case brought by a nonprofit and individual voters in Oklahoma, seeking a change in election law in light of COVID-19. The Oklahoma Supreme Court mandated the Election Board to recognize sworn statements and prohibited them from issuing ballots that suggested notarization was the only way to legitimize a ballot. The case ... [view]
12 Castillo v. Whitmer
1:20-cv-00751 (W.D. Mich.)
Filed 08/11/2020 - Closed 2020
The Governor of Michigan
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
PR-MI-0006
Ingham County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is an an equal protection action filed on August 8, 2020 by a group of Latino individuals and two limited liability companies, seeking an injunction of an emergency health order mandating all migrant agricultural workers be tested for COVID-19. The court denied the plaintiffs' motions for a temporary restraining order and a ... [view]
13 County of Butler v. Wolf
2:20-cv-00677 (W.D. Pa.)
Filed 08/11/2020 - Case Ongoing
Thomas W. Wolf
Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
PR-PA-0002
Dauphin County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This constitutional claims action was filed by Pennsylvania counties, residents, and businesses on May 7, 2020, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief from the state's public safety orders. The court granted declaratory relief to the plaintiffs on September 14, 2020.
The plaintiffs, four Pennsylvania counties and several ... [view]
14 Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) v. DeVos
1:20-cv-02310-GLR (D. Md.)
Filed 08/10/2020 - Closed 2020
Department of Education
Department of Education
Education
ED-MD-0005
District of Columbia
Coding Complete
This is a case about an Interim Final Rule concerning how federal COVID relief CARES Act funding is allocated to private and public schools. On August 10, 2020, The Council Parent Attorneys and Advocates (Parent Advocates) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in District of Maryland. Parent Advocates sued the Secretary of Education, Betsy ... [view]
15 Blake v. Carr
4:20-cv-807-P (N.D. Tex.)
Filed 08/03/2020 - Case Ongoing
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
Prison Conditions
PC-TX-0026
Fort Worth
Coding Complete
This case concerns the conditions of confinement at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell (hereafter FMC-Carswell), a women’s prison in Fort Worth, Texas. The original plaintiffs included over seventy prisoners who alleged systemic failure to implement proper COVID-19 protocols, unjustified denial of medical care and hygiene products; low-quality ... [view]
16 Scholl v. Mnuchin
4:20-cv-05309-PJH (N.D. Cal.)
Filed 08/01/2020 - Case Ongoing
United States of America
Criminal Justice (Other)
Public Benefits / Government Services
PB-CA-0058
Coding Complete
Two incarcerated plaintiffs brought this class-action lawsuit seeking to obtain the benefits provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security (CARES) Act. The plaintiffs sought to represent a class all people incarcerated in the United States between March 27, 2020 until August 1, 2020 (the date the complaint was filed) who was ... [view]
17 Criswell v. Boudreaux
1:20-cv-01048 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 07/29/2020 - Case Ongoing
Sheriff of Tulare County
Tulare County Sherriff's Office
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0144
Tulare County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This constitutional action was filed on July 29, 2020 by inmates in Tulare County in California seeking improved safety and health conditions in light of COVID-19. The court granted part of the plaintiffs' temporary restraining order and provisional class certification on September 2, 2020. However, on December 23, 2020 the court ... [view]
18 Subramanya v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
2:20-cv-03707 (S.D. Ohio)
Filed 07/22/2020 - Case Ongoing
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Immigration and/or the Border
IM-OH-0005
Washington
Coding Complete
This is a case about how quickly United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must process, print, and mail Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Form I-766) for immigrants who have received approval for their Applications for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). On July 22, 2020, an immigrant who had received employment approval but ... [view]
19 NAACP v. DeVos
1:20-cv-01996 (D.D.C.)
Filed 07/22/2020 - Closed
Secretary of the United States Department of Education
United States Department of Education
Education
ED-DC-0010
District of Columbia County
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is an action filed on July 22, 2020 by advocacy groups, public school districts, and parents of children who attend public schools. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the U.S. Department of Education for creating an agency rule that conflicts with the text of the CARES Act. The court granted summary ... [view]
20 Washington v. Devos
2:20-cv-01119-BJR (W.D. Wash.)
Filed 07/20/2020 - Closed
Department of Education
Public Benefits / Government Services
PB-WA-0009
Washington
Coding Complete
Summary not yet on record [view]
21 Calvary Chapel of Ukiah v. Newsom
2:20-cv-01431 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 07/15/2020 - Case Ongoing
State of California
Speech and Religious Freedom
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
PR-CA-0005
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a case brought by several churches in California, challenging state restrictions on worship brought on by COVID-19. The churches requested injunctive relief, claiming violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. No outcome yet.
Three California churches brought this lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom and ... [view]
22 University of Oregon v. United States Department of Homeland Security
6:20-cv-01127 (D. Or.)
Filed 07/13/2020 - Closed 2020
United States Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Immigration and/or the Border
Education
IM-OR-0011
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the University of California regents regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas could risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. In a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same July directive, plaintiffs ... [view]
23 Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security
1:20-cv-11311 (D. Mass.)
Filed 07/13/2020 - Closed 2020
United States Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Immigration and/or the Border
IM-MA-0021
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by seventeen different states and Washington D.C. regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas would risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. On July 15, in a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same July ... [view]
24 The Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
4:20-cv-04621 (N.D. Cal.)
Filed 07/10/2020 - Closed 2020
United States Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and/or the Border
Education
IM-CA-0165
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the University of California regents regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas would risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. In a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same July directive, the ... [view]
25 State of Washington v. United States Department of Homeland Security
2:20-cv-01070 (W.D. Wash.)
Filed 07/10/2020 - Closed 2020
United States Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and/or the Border
Education
IM-WA-0045
Coding Complete
COVID-19 Summary: This is a lawsuit brought by the state of Washington regarding the July 2020 release of ICE regulations which, in effect, meant that students on F-1 visas would risk deportation if their school shifted to online learning. On July 15, in a different lawsuit filed against the administration over the same July directive, plaintiffs ... [view]
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