University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Tate v. Kassulke JC-KY-0001
Docket / Court 3:75-cv-00031-CRS ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On January 30, 1975, the plaintiffs, inmates of the Jefferson County Jail (Jail), brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking injunctive relief with respect to alleged violations of their constitutional rights. The alleged ... read more >
On January 30, 1975, the plaintiffs, inmates of the Jefferson County Jail (Jail), brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking injunctive relief with respect to alleged violations of their constitutional rights. The alleged constitutional violations included the lack of sanitary conditions, access to showers, access to recreation, vermin infested conditions, lack of medical attention, cruel beatings, unconstitutional reading of mail and lack due process with respect to solitary confinement and segregation. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the Legal Aid Society. On March 4, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (Judge Charles Allen) held that visitation regulations were overly broad and overly stringent, that various hearing procedures would be required with respect to administrative segregation at time of arrival at the jail or for disciplinary infractions, and that the regulation relating to ""disturbance"" was invalid for vagueness. Tate v. Kassulke, 409 F.Supp. 651 (W.D.Ky. 1976). Judge Allen further ordered that a committee with three members be appointed to visit the jail unannounced at least once a month to determine that plumbing facilities are operating correctly and that the inmates are given clean clothes, bedding and soap at least once a week. The court held that no right to relief had been established with respect to sanitary conditions, alleged brutality of jail guards, use of the mails, establishment of jail library, medical care and allegedly superior facilities in the women's portion of the jail.

The inmates filed an amended complaint in 1980 alleging further constitutional infringements resulting from overcrowded conditions at the Jefferson County Jail. On March 15, 1983, county officials named as defendants in this subsequent litigation successfully joined as third-party defendants certain Kentucky state corrections officials because of their refusal to timely accept felons incarcerated in the Jail awaiting transfer to state facilities. On May 19, 1983, Judge Allen issued a mandatory injunction against the state corrections officials ordering them to immediately reduce the number of convicted felons awaiting transfer at the Jail to no more than thirty felons. The injunction further instructed the state corrections officials to transfer each convicted felon confined at the Jail within thirty days after imposition of sentence. On June 1, 1984, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's joinder of state officials as third-party defendants. Tate v. Frey, 735 F.2d 986 (6th Cir. 1984). The court also upheld the district court's preliminary injunction by holding that federal law barring federal courts from ordering state officials to comply with state law did not preclude the issuance of a preliminary injunction against state corrections officials in this case.

On October 16, 1987, Judge Allen held state corrections officials in civil contempt for violating the terms of the preliminary injunction and ordered them to pay fines for each instance of overcrowding. Tate v. Frey, 673 F.Supp. 880 (W.D.Ky. 1987). Judge Allen also ordered that the state should stop placing parole violators in the Jail until the population limits were no longer violated. Litigation over the terms of the injunction and attorney's fees continued until the case was closed on October 16, 2000.

Tom Madison - 02/04/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Crowding / caseload
Sex discrimination
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Jefferson County Jail
Plaintiff Description Inmates of Jefferson county jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1976 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

75-31 (W.D. Ky.) 12/04/2000
JC-KY-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 03/04/1976 (409 F.Supp. 651) (W.D. Ky.)
JC-KY-0001-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 06/01/1984 (735 F.2d 986)
JC-KY-0001-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and and Memorandum Opinion 10/16/1987 (673 F.Supp. 880) (W.D. Ky.)
JC-KY-0001-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Allen, Charles Mengel (W.D. Ky.)
JC-KY-0001-0001 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Celebrezze, Anthony Joseph (Sixth Circuit)
Engel, Albert Joseph (Sixth Circuit, W.D. Mich.)
Krupansky, Robert B. (Sixth Circuit, N.D. Ohio)
Simpson, Charles Ralph III (W.D. Ky.)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berggren, Kurt (Kentucky)
Friedman, Ellen G. (Kentucky)
Friedman, David A. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0001-0003 | JC-KY-0001-9000
Littlefield, Robert H. (Kentucky)
Marstin, Ronald Eric (Kentucky)
Martin, Eleanor F. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Smith, Walker Bledsoe (Kentucky)
Stuckey, Curtis B. (Kentucky)
Townes, W. Waverley (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Cooper, Linda G. (Kentucky)
Cordery, Suzanne D. (Kentucky)
Durham, Stephen (Kentucky)
Jones, Barbara Willett (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0001-0002 | JC-KY-0001-0003 | JC-KY-0001-9000
Lilly, N. Scott (Kentucky)
McCartney, R. Allen (Kentucky)
Mobley, Joseph V. (Kentucky)
Sexton, David A. (Kentucky)
Other Lawyers None on record

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