University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Waterman v. Verniero PC-NJ-0018
Docket / Court 2:98-cv-1938 ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Two prisoners at a facility for sex offenders filed this §1983 action in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, against the state of New Jersey, alleging a violation of their First Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that a New Jersey law banning " ... read more >
Two prisoners at a facility for sex offenders filed this §1983 action in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, against the state of New Jersey, alleging a violation of their First Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that a New Jersey law banning "sexually oriented materials" in the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, as well as a violation of their right to free speech.

On June 1, 1998, the Court (Mag. Judge Joel A. Pisano) issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting defendant from enforcing the relevant state law. On June 29, the Court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendant from enforcing that law. 12 F.Supp.2d 364 (amended July 21, 1998). On July 22, the Court (Judge Alfred M. Wolin) found New Jersey's statute unconstitutional and permanently enjoined state officials from enforcing it. 12 F.Supp.2d 378. On August 11, 1998, the Court permanently enjoined defendants from prohibiting inmates to possess and view recreational movies.

On June 30, 1999, the Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Alito) reversed, holding that the state statute did not violate plaintiffs' constitutional rights and remanded with instructions to enter judgment for defendant. 183 F.3d 208.

On March 3, 2000, the district court (Magistrate Judge Pisano) denied plaintiff's request for attorney fees, holding that the applicable statute precluded recovery when the suit merely catalyzed (but did not compel) state curative action, and such denial of the catalyst basis for fees recovery did not violate plaintiffs' equal protection rights. 84 F.Supp.2d 579. The plaintiffs appealed this decision.

On September 27, 2000, the Court of Appeals amended the cost taxed against the defendant, adding an additional $598.40. We don't have the order, but it appears that the Court of Appeals did not alter the attorneys' fee part of the judgment. Nothing more appears in the district court docket.

Timothy Shoffner - 04/30/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 02/14/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of New Jersey
Plaintiff Description Two prisoners at a New Jersey facility for sex offenders
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
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 2000
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)
2:98-cv-01398 (D.N.J.) 10/05/2000
PC-NJ-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion [Granting Preliminary Injunction] 07/21/1998 (12 F.Supp.2d 364) (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0018-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Granting Permanent Injunction and Dismissing Case] 07/22/1998 (12 F.Supp.2d 378) (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0018-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court [Reversing and Remanding to District Court] 06/30/1999 (183 F.3d 208)
PC-NJ-0018-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Denying Plaintiffs' Application] 03/01/2000 (84 F.Supp.2d 579) (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0018-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. Court not on record
PC-NJ-0018-0003
Lewis, Timothy K. (W.D. Pa., Third Circuit)
PC-NJ-0018-0003
Nygaard, Richard Lowell (Third Circuit)
PC-NJ-0018-0003
Pisano, Joel A. (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
PC-NJ-0018-0004
Wolin, Alfred M. (D.N.J.)
PC-NJ-0018-0001 | PC-NJ-0018-0002 | PC-NJ-0018-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lustberg, Lawrence S. (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bollheimer, Ronald L. (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0018-9000
Ragonese, David Marcos (New Jersey)
PC-NJ-0018-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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