University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Freeman v. Berge PC-WI-0011
Docket / Court 03-C-0021-C ( W.D. Wis. )
State/Territory Wisconsin
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Solitary confinement
Case Summary
On February 13, 2003, a prisoner in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the DOC. The plaintiff, pro se at the time of the filing, asked the court for injunctive relief and ... read more >
On February 13, 2003, a prisoner in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the DOC. The plaintiff, pro se at the time of the filing, asked the court for injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the employees of the DOC violated his constitutional rights. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the employees of the DOC violated his rights, under the Due Process Clause and the 8th Amendment, by subjecting him to unreasonable strip searches, depriving him of food, exposing him to extreme temperatures, and placing him on paper restrictions.

By order dated February 13, 2003, the District Court (Judge Barbara B. Crabb) ruled that Plaintiff could proceed with his claim that defendants violated his 8th Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when they denied him food, subjected him to extreme cell temperatures, conducted unreasonable strip searches and subjected him to sensory deprivation and social isolation. Judge Crabb dismissed, as legally frivolous, the plaintiff's claim that the DOC violated his Due Process rights by placing him on paper restriction.

On June 3, 2003, Judge Crabb dismissed the plaintiff's claim against the DOC regarding unreasonable strip searches, stating that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his claim. The court also dismissed plaintiff's claim that the defendants deprived him of social interaction because the defendants had qualified immunity against liability for damages. The court further stated that injunctive relief was unnecessary in regards to the lack of social interaction because a previous class action suit against the DOC and the prison, of which the Plaintiff was a class member, resulted in a settlement agreement that addressed the issue.

Defendants moved for summary judgment on the Plaintiff's two remaining claims. On December 17, 2003, the court denied summary judgment on Plaintiff's food deprivation claim, but granted summary judgment on his claim that he was subject to extreme temperatures, stating that there was not enough evidence to prove his claim to the jury.

On June 6, 2004, Plaintiff was assigned private counsel. On July 30, 2004, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint, alleging that the DOC's practice of depriving Plaintiff of food for multiple days in a row when he refused to comply with prison policy constituted cruel and unusual punishment and exposed his health to serious harm. Plaintiff sought injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney's fees.

The case proceeded to trial and, on December 21, 2004, a permanent injunction was granted enjoining the defendants from withholding meals from Plaintiff in response to any rule violation that does not constitute an imminent security risk. The jury also found the defendants liable for violating the plaintiff's constitutional rights and awarded plaintiff $50,000 in compensatory damages and $400,000 in punitive damages against each of the individually named defendants.

On March 21, 2005, the 7th Circuit ruled that prisoners who miss meals because of rule violations were never subject to punishment, but rather were punishing themselves and therefore could not sustain cruel and unusual punishment claims. Rodriguez v. Briley, 403 F.3d 952 (7th Cir. 2005). In response to the 7th Circuit ruling, Judge Crabb vacated the judgment and instructed the clerk of the court to enter judgment in favor of all defendants on all claims.

Plaintiff's petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was denied.

Ashley Grolig - 11/13/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Search policies
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Strip search policy
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Self-injurious behaviors
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Wisconsin Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoner at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility Correctional Institution alleges violation of right to be free from cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, right to be free from unreasonable searches and right to due process
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
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 ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ 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)
3:03−cv−00021 (W.D. Wis.) 04/19/2006
PC-WI-0011-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [requiring plaintiff to pay partial filing fee] 01/21/2003 (2003 WL 23142229) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Granting in part and dismissing in part claims] 02/12/2003 (2003 WL 23109671) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0009 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Denying Motion for Default Judgment] 03/20/2003 (2003 WL 23167292) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0010 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion and Order [Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to dismiss claims] 06/03/2003 (283 F.Supp.2d 1009) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration] 06/19/2003 (2003 WL 23208945) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0011 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Affirming Decision] 06/20/2003 (68 Fed.Appx. 738)
PC-WI-0011-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 06/30/2003 (2003 WL 23282509) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Per Curiam 07/24/2003 (668 N.W.2d 564)
PC-WI-0011-0013 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order 07/25/2003 (2003 WL 23315888) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 07/30/2003 (2003 WL 23277412) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0004 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order [re: various motions] 08/26/2003 (2003 WL 23220727) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Clarification] 09/22/2003 (2003 WL 23120065) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0016 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Denying Motion for Witnesses at Trial] 09/23/2003 (2003 WL 23095636) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0017 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 09/24/2003 (2003 WL 23315889) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0018 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Denying Various Motions] 12/02/2003 (2003 WL 23282531) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0019 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion and Order 12/17/2003 (2003 WL 23272395) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0020 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Appointing Counsel, Rescinding Trial Date] 01/06/2004 (2004 WL 66774) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0021 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Dismissing Claims with Prejudice, Remanding Case] 05/27/2004 (2003 WL 1196815) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0022 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Granting Motion to Amend Complaint] 07/28/2004 (2004 WL 1774737 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15532) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0023 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Second Amended Complaint 07/30/2004
PC-WI-0011-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 09/13/2004 (2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 18425) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0028 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion and Order [re: Motion to Dismiss] 11/08/2004 (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0002 PDF | Detail
Final Pretrial Conference Order 11/23/2004 (2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 24222) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0029 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Permanent Injunction Order 12/21/2004 (2004 WL 3006937) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0024 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Judgment in a Civil Case 12/30/2004 (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0003 PDF | Detail
Order [Granting Attorney Fees] 01/27/2005 (2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 2464) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0030 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Order 04/18/2005 (2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7700) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0031 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion and Order 05/16/2005 (2005 WL 1168311 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 9609) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0025 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order 06/22/2005 (2005 WL 1484521 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12638) (W.D. Wis.)
PC-WI-0011-0026 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Per Curiam 12/22/2005 (709 N.W.2d 112)
PC-WI-0011-0027 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
USCA Opinion 03/23/2006 (441 F.3d 543)
PC-WI-0011-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Petition for Writ of Certiorari Denied 10/02/2006 (127 S.Ct. 176)
PC-WI-0011-0032 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Crabb, Barbara Brandriff (W.D. Wis.) [Magistrate]
PC-WI-0011-0002 | PC-WI-0011-0003 | PC-WI-0011-0005 | PC-WI-0011-0008 | PC-WI-0011-0009 | PC-WI-0011-0010 | PC-WI-0011-0011 | PC-WI-0011-0012 | PC-WI-0011-0014 | PC-WI-0011-0015 | PC-WI-0011-0016 | PC-WI-0011-0017 | PC-WI-0011-0018 | PC-WI-0011-0020 | PC-WI-0011-0021 | PC-WI-0011-0022 | PC-WI-0011-0023 | PC-WI-0011-0024 | PC-WI-0011-0025 | PC-WI-0011-0026 | PC-WI-0011-0028 | PC-WI-0011-0029 | PC-WI-0011-0031 | PC-WI-0011-9001
Crocker, Stephen L. (W.D. Wis.) [Magistrate]
PC-WI-0011-0004 | PC-WI-0011-0019 | PC-WI-0011-0030 | PC-WI-0011-9001
Deininger, David (State Appellate Court)
PC-WI-0011-0013
Dykman, Charles P. (State Appellate Court)
PC-WI-0011-0013 | PC-WI-0011-0027
Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Seventh Circuit)
PC-WI-0011-0006
Higginbotham, Paul B. (State Appellate Court)
PC-WI-0011-0027
Lundsten, Paul (State Appellate Court)
PC-WI-0011-0027
Manion, Daniel Anthony (Seventh Circuit)
PC-WI-0011-0007
Posner, Richard Allen (Seventh Circuit)
PC-WI-0011-0006
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
PC-WI-0011-0007
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit)
PC-WI-0011-0006 | PC-WI-0011-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Harth, David J. (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0001 | PC-WI-0011-0006 | PC-WI-0011-0008 | PC-WI-0011-0009 | PC-WI-0011-0010 | PC-WI-0011-0011 | PC-WI-0011-0012 | PC-WI-0011-0014 | PC-WI-0011-0015 | PC-WI-0011-0016 | PC-WI-0011-0017 | PC-WI-0011-0018 | PC-WI-0011-0019 | PC-WI-0011-0020 | PC-WI-0011-0021 | PC-WI-0011-0023 | PC-WI-0011-0029 | PC-WI-0011-0030 | PC-WI-0011-9001
Walkenhorst, Sarah C. (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0001 | PC-WI-0011-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Finkelmeyer, Corey F. (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0005 | PC-WI-0011-0008 | PC-WI-0011-0009 | PC-WI-0011-0010 | PC-WI-0011-0011 | PC-WI-0011-0012 | PC-WI-0011-0014 | PC-WI-0011-0015 | PC-WI-0011-0016 | PC-WI-0011-0017 | PC-WI-0011-0018 | PC-WI-0011-0019 | PC-WI-0011-0020 | PC-WI-0011-0021 | PC-WI-0011-0023 | PC-WI-0011-0024 | PC-WI-0011-0025 | PC-WI-0011-0026
Hoornstra, Charles D. (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0006 | PC-WI-0011-0022 | PC-WI-0011-0030 | PC-WI-0011-9001
Lautenschlager, Peggy A. (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0006
McCambridge, James (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0029
Urdan, Joely (Wisconsin)
PC-WI-0011-0028 | PC-WI-0011-0031
Other Lawyers None on record

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