University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bumgarner v. North Carolina Department of Corrections PC-NC-0011
Docket / Court 5:10-ct-03166 ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On September 17, 2010, prisoners with physical disabilities within the custody of the North Carolina Department of Corrections ("DOC") filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, ... read more >
On September 17, 2010, prisoners with physical disabilities within the custody of the North Carolina Department of Corrections ("DOC") filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The plaintiffs, represented by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, brought the suit against the state of North Carolina. They asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that defendants discriminated against them. Specifically, they alleged that by reason of their disabilities, defendants denied them the benefits of the DOC's sentence reduction credit programs.

Prisoners within the DOC can earn credits that shorten their terms of incarceration if they work or participate in certain programs. Pursuant to the medical gain time policy, the DOC grants disabled inmates sentence reduction credits only if it determines that they are medically unfit to participate in the traditional sentence reduction credit programs. The plaintiffs alleged that the DOC's definition of "medically unfit" misclassified numerous disabled prisoners and excluded them from participation in the medical gain time program even when they were physically unable to participate in traditional sentence reduction credit programs. Furthermore, even when disabled prisoners were given the opportunity to earn sentence reduction credits through the medical gain time policy, the DOC discriminated against them by providing the opportunity to earn credits at two-thirds the rate available to non-disabled prisoners.

On September 19, 2011, Judge Terrence Boyle granted class certification. The class was defined as all present and future disabled prisoners of the DOC "who have been, and may in the future be, discriminated against, excluded from participation in, and denied the benefits of the DOC's sentence reduction credit programs by reason of their disabilities."

On August 15, 2013, Judge Boyle approved the parties' stipulated consent decree. The agreement mandated that the DOC establish, implement, and modify its policies to provide access to sentence reduction credits to qualified prisoners with disabilities. The plaintiffs' attorneys must have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed policy changes. Additionally, the DOC must create various new full-time positions, including a position dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the new policies and the consent decree. The DOC was required to pay for expenses associated with the implementation of the consent decree. The requirements of the agreement are set to terminate two years following the date of entry.

Nate West - 11/11/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Hire
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Good time
Over/Unlawful Detention
Work release or work assignments
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description Prisoners with physical disabilities detained by the North Carolina Department of Corrections
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
5:10-cv-03166 (E.D.N.C.) 04/10/2014
PC-NC-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 09/17/2010
PC-NC-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Class Certification] 09/19/2011 (276 F.R.D. 452) (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion to Amend Class Certification] 10/29/2012 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Consent Decree 02/13/2013 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Staying the Implementation of the Consent Decree] 02/27/2013 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Consent Decree 08/15/2013 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boyle, Terrence William (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0011-0002 | PC-NC-0011-0004 | PC-NC-0011-0005 | PC-NC-0011-9000
Gates, James E. (E.D.N.C.) [Magistrate]
PC-NC-0011-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Coward, Emily S. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-0001 | PC-NC-0011-9000
Ferrari, Ann Marie (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-0001 | PC-NC-0011-9000
Griffin, J. Phillip (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-9000
Leaven, Tod Michael (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-9000
Solms, Julie (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-0004 | PC-NC-0011-0006 | PC-NC-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Harrell, Norma Smithwick (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-9000
Ricci, Yvonne Bulluck (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0011-0004 | PC-NC-0011-9000
White, Cassandra (Texas)
PC-NC-0011-0004
Other Lawyers None on record

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