University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Libby v. Marshall JC-MA-0002
Docket / Court 83-2281 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On August 4, 1983, inmates at the Norfolk County Jail in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Norfolk County in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding at the ... read more >
On August 4, 1983, inmates at the Norfolk County Jail in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Norfolk County in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding at the jail.

On January 17, 1984, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Walter Skinner) held that overcrowding at the jail violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights and issued a preliminary injunction requiring that the population at the jail be capped at 143 prisoners. The population of the jail continued to exceed the population cap ordered by the court, and on April 29, 1986, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Governor Michael Dukakis, and other representatives of the Commonwealth. The additional defendants were added in an effort to assert that the unconstitutional conditions at the jail could not be remedied without Commonwealth funds and to compel the Commonwealth to contribute. The Commonwealth officials asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

On November 26, 1986, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Skinner) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that the Commonwealth officials were properly included as defendants and that the plaintiffs had stated a civil rights cause of action against them. Libby v. Marshall, 653 F.Supp. 359 (D.Mass. 1986). The defendants appealed.

On November 24, 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Judge Levin Campbell, Judge William Timbers, and Judge Stephen Breyer) affirmed the district court's ruling and dismissed the appeal. Libby v. Marshall, 833 F.2d 402 (1st Cir. 1987). We have no information on the order issued by the district court following the dismissal of the defendants' appeal.

On March 26, 1992, the defendants asked the court to dismiss the case, and on April 6, 1992, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Skinner) closed the case. The plaintiffs asked the court to award them attorneys' fees, and on June 3, 1992, the court (Judge Skinner) awarded the plaintiffs $70,103.61 in attorneys' fees and costs. We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Kristen Sagar - 04/14/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Massachusetts Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoners of a county jail wishing to end the unconstitutional overcrowding in the jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1984 - 1992
Case Closing Year 1992
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
83-2281 (D. Mass.) 09/23/1994
JC-MA-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order on State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 11/26/1986 (653 F.Supp. 359) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0002-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 11/24/1987 (833 F.2d 402)
JC-MA-0002-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Campbell, Levin Hicks (D. Mass., First Circuit)
JC-MA-0002-0002
Skinner, Walter Jay (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0002-0001 | JC-MA-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Wood, Pamela (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001 | JC-MA-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Carr, William J. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001
Carr, William F. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001
Cashman, Henry (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001
DeRensis, Paul R. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-9000
Goldberg, Steven H. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0002
Hanson, Herbert (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001
Littlefield, A. Stanley (Louisiana)
JC-MA-0002-0001
Shannon, James M. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0002
Valvo, Carl (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0002-0001 | JC-MA-0002-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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