University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lee v. Singletary PC-FL-0017
Docket / Court 93-40176 ( N.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On May 16, 1996, all inmates in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections filed a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from Florida Justice Institute, Inc., ... read more >
On May 16, 1996, all inmates in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections filed a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from Florida Justice Institute, Inc., sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants, in violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the United States Constitution, persist in using a handcuff cover, commonly known as the black box, despite the fact that the device caused excessive and unnecessary pain and discomfort.

The class action began with the filing of a pro se case by one inmate on June 2, 1993. Thereafter, two other inmates filed similar actions. The Magistrate Judge William Sherrill Jr. consolidated the three cases. A Consolidated Amended Complaint was filed on May 16, 1996, alleging a class consisting of "all persons, other than death-sentenced persons, who are currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections, or who will come into the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections, and who will be restrained with the black box security device while being transported between one secure facility and another secure facility in a transport van operated by employees of the Florida Department of Corrections." After the class was certified, a bench trial was held on April 16, 1997. Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed claims of the plaintiff class with prejudice and judgment was entered for the defendants.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. On January 29, 1999, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decision without a reported opinion.

Xin Chen - 03/20/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Restraints : physical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Florida Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All are inmates in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections alleging that the defendants, in violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Constitution persist in using a handcuff cover, commonly known as the black box.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
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)
4:93−cv−40176 (N.D. Fla.) 03/25/1999
PC-FL-0017-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
CONSOLIDATED AMENDED COMPLAINT 05/16/1996
PC-FL-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
INITIAL BRIEF OF APPELLANTS 09/24/1998
PC-FL-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Hinkle, Robert Lewis (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0017-0002 | PC-FL-0017-9001
Paul, Maurice Mitchell (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0017-0002
Sherrill, William C. Jr. (N.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PC-FL-0017-0002
Stafford, William Henry Jr. (FISC, N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0017-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Siegel, Peter Michael (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-0001 | PC-FL-0017-0002 | PC-FL-0017-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Clodfelter, Scott Edward (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-0002 | PC-FL-0017-9001
Kilinski, Caryl (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-0002 | PC-FL-0017-9001
LAPLANTE, DONNA MARIE (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-0002 | PC-FL-0017-9001
WISER, JOSEPH HOLLIS (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-9001
Other Lawyers Berg, Randall Challen Jr. (Florida)
PC-FL-0017-0002

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