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Case Name Gillespie v. Brewer PC-WV-0004
Docket / Court 80-188 ( N.D. W. Va. )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In November 1979, inmates at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia staged a mass escape, prompting a security shakedown by the West Virginia Department of Public Safety. Several months later, an inmate of the prison filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
In November 1979, inmates at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia staged a mass escape, prompting a security shakedown by the West Virginia Department of Public Safety. Several months later, an inmate of the prison filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Department of Public Safety in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The inmate alleged that the defendants had violated his civil rights during the security shakedown by beating him and commanding an attack dog to bite him.

After the Department of Public Safety prevailed at trial in eleven similar cases, the plaintiff accepted the defendants' settlement offer of $200. The settlement agreement included a clause in which all parties agreed to bear their own costs and attorneys' fees. When the plaintiff could not pay his attorney, the attorney petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Western Virginia to award him attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Act of 1976.

On January 25, 1985, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia (Judge Charles Haden) held that the attorneys' fees clause in the settlement agreement was unenforceable and awarded the plaintiff's attorney $2760. Gillespie v. Brewer, 602 F.Supp. 218 (N.D.W.V. 1985). We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Kristen Sagar - 12/13/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Personal injury
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) West Virginia Department of Public Safety
Plaintiff Description Inmate at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 01/25/1985 (602 F.Supp. 218) (N.D. W. Va.)
PC-WV-0004-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Haden, Charles Harold II (S.D. W. Va., N.D. W. Va.)
PC-WV-0004-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cogan, Timothy (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0004-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Dana (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0004-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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