University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Wharton v. Danberg PC-DE-0008
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-01240-UNA ( D. Del. )
State/Territory Delaware
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On October 1, 2012, four overdetained former Delaware prisoners , represented by private counsel, filed suit against Comissioner of the Delaware Department of Corrections (DDOC) and two directors of Central Offender Records (COR), alleging that their failure to takes steps to correct the allegedly ... read more >
On October 1, 2012, four overdetained former Delaware prisoners , represented by private counsel, filed suit against Comissioner of the Delaware Department of Corrections (DDOC) and two directors of Central Offender Records (COR), alleging that their failure to takes steps to correct the allegedly well-known and long-term (since at least 2008) dysfunction of COR constituted a violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that DDOC/COR inadequate staff, training, discipline, and hours of operation, along with a host of other policies, caused frequent overdetention, ranging from 12 hours to days, weeks, months, and possibly even years. Plaintiffs brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, individually and as a class action, for all those incarcerated in a DDOC facility as of October 1, 2008 or later who were not or will not be released within 12 hours of the expiration of their sentence or the forwarding of a court order for release.

On December 4, 2012, a DDOC prisoner who claimed that errors in the calculation of his date of imprisonment and his good time could lead to 8 years or more of overdetention filed pro se to intervene in the case.

As of this writing, the case is still in early stages of discovery. An Interim Status Report filed May 20, 2013, stated that after exchange of written discovery there was still unresolved dispute about access to Defendants' databases. The case is ongoing.

Kenneth Gray - 07/08/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Over/Unlawful Detention
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Delaware
Delaware Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Four former prisoners of the Delaware Department of Corrections who suffered overdetention and filed suit on behalf of themselves and a class of individuals who were or will be overdetained.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
1:12-cv-1240 (D. Del.) 03/08/2013
PC-DE-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint (Class Action) 10/01/2012
PC-DE-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Stark, Leonard Philip (D. Del.) [Magistrate]
PC-DE-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Grady, John S. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-0001 | PC-DE-0008-9000
Hampton, Stephen A. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-0001 | PC-DE-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fortune, Katisha D. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-9000
McTaggart, Michael F. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-9000
Niedzielski, Marc P. (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-9000
Spivack, Dennis (Delaware)
PC-DE-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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