University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Beehler v. Jeffes PC-PA-0027
Docket / Court 3:83-cv-01024 ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Steve Gold
Case Summary
On July 25, 1983, the female inmates of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at Muncy filed a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Scranton Division. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On July 25, 1983, the female inmates of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at Muncy filed a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Scranton Division. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from Women's Law Project and American Civil Rights Union, asked the court for equitable relief.

The plaintiffs' claims are based on sex discrimination, unsafe conditions of confinement, violations of their due process rights, and interference with their religious freedom. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the programs, services and facilities for female inmates were inferior to those afforded male prisoners in Pennsylvania correctional institutions.

On June 30, 1986, in a published opinion by Chief Judge William J. Nealon, the Court concluded that because of the claim preclusive aspect of the res judicata doctrine, plaintiffs in this case are precluded from asserting the majority of their § 1983 and federal constitutional claims. In the current action, many of the plaintiffs' claims involve the same causes of action raised and made part of the consent decree in an earlier case, Imprisoned Citizens Union v. Shapp, Case Nos. 70-2545, 70-3054, 71-0513, 71-1006 (E.D.Pa.) ("I.C.U.") (posted on this site at PC-PA-0005). However, the Court also concluded that those causes of action based on physical safety hazards, a lack of privacy, gender discrimination and reliance on unreliable urine tests are not precluded in this case.

On January 10, 1992, Judge Edwin M. Kosik concluded that the 8th Amendment constitutional right of the plaintiffs was not violated. Accordingly, the plaintiff's claim for equitable relief was denied. At some point in this case, the parties reached a settlement (referred to as "stipulation" in the Docket) and it was approved by Judge Edwin M. Kosik. However, the details of the settlement cannot be reproduced and verified at this moment. Plaintiffs were also awarded counsel fees and costs from the defendants in the amount of $545,327.49 at the end of the case.

Plaintiffs appealed the case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In March, 1993, the Court of Appeals denied appellants' request for a rehearing and affirmed the judgment of the District Court.

Xin Chen - 03/30/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disciplinary procedures
Fire safety
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Plaintiff Description All female prisoners who are or will be confined at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, PA.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Steve Gold
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 Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1993
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)
3:83−cv−01024 (M.D. Pa.) 06/10/1994
PC-PA-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Published Opinion 06/30/1986 (664 F.Supp. 931) (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0027-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Kosik, Edwin Michael (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Nealon, William Joseph Jr. (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Behravesh, Ann E. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Borden, Rebecca (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Dolan, Daniel R. (New Mexico)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Gold, Stephen F. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Goodman, Harold I. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Harris, Deborah (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Harvey, Thomas B. III (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Kolbert, Kathryn (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Nicholas, Susan Cary (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001 | PC-PA-0027-9000
Place, Thomas M (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001 | PC-PA-0027-9000
Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001 | PC-PA-0027-9000
Rubino, Stephen C. (New Jersey)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Wharton, Linda (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brier, Daniel T. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Doyle, Daniel J. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Neuhauser, Gregory R. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-0001
Otto, Theodore G. III (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Zapp, Amy (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0027-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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