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Case Name Laurna Chief Goes Out v. Missoula County JC-MT-0002
Docket / Court 9:12-cv-00155 ( D. Mont. )
State/Territory Montana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On September 12, 2012, female prisoners at the Missoula County Detention Facility (MCDF), housed in Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana against Missoula County, the Sheriff of Missoula County and ... read more >
On September 12, 2012, female prisoners at the Missoula County Detention Facility (MCDF), housed in Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana against Missoula County, the Sheriff of Missoula County and various persons employed at MCDF, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from ACLU of Montana and University of Montana Law School, sought declaratory relief, order of the Court and attorney's fees, alleging that Missoula County violated their constitutional rights and their rights under the Montana Constitution by not giving them access to fresh air and outdoor exercise. Specifically, the alleged violations were that Missoula County subjected the prisoners to cruel and unusual punishment by depriving them of fresh air and outdoor exercise, and asked for the order of the Court to provide them with outdoor exercise and fresh air for one hour five days per week. Moreover, the plaintiffs alleged gender discrimination, as Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center were the only facilities at MCDF that housed female prisoners and had no access to fresh air and outdoor exercise, while other housing units housed only male prisoners and they had access to fresh air and outdoor exercise.

On October 17, 2012, the Court (Judge Donald Molloy) issued an order granting class certification. The Court certified the class consisting of all current and future prisoners housed in Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center for a period of one month or longer who claimed cruel and unusual punishment through denial of fresh air and outdoor exercise. The Court also certified a subclass consisting of all female prisoners housed in Housing Unit 2.

On December 3, 2012, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, alleged mostly the same violations, but adding a plaintiff, who was a parent suing on behalf of a minor prisoner at the Juvenile Detention Center.

On January 10, 2013, the Court (Judge Donald Molloy) issued an order denying the defendants' motion to set aside class certification, but modified the class as current and future prisoners in the Housing Unit and the Juvenile Detention Center incarcerated for a period of one month or longer whom the defendants denied fresh air and outdoor exercise, with subclass for female prisoners at the Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center.

On February 27, 2013, the case was stayed. On October 31, 2013, the Court (Judge Donald Molloy) issued an order and a judgment, approving and adopting a Proposed Settlement Agreement (PSA) between the parties as a consent decree. The Court stated that the PSA was fair, adequate and reasonable, with no Class member objecting to it.

Under the PSA, the defendants are to construct outdoor recreation areas for the prisoners at the Housing Unit 2 and the Juvenile Detention Center, and provide them with access to it. They are also to provide adequate staffing and policies for the usage of the areas. The Court retained jurisdiction over the subject matter of the litigation. The defendant Missoula County is to make available for inspection written logs for outdoor recreation, and allow access for confidential interviews to plaintiffs' lawyers. The consent decree can be terminated after two years pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The defendants also agreed to pay attorney's fees for the plaintiff.

On November 15, 2013, the Court (Judge Donald Molloy) issued an order granting the unopposed motion by the plaintiffs for attorney's fees in the amount of $34,594.87 within 60 days, per the stipulation filed by the parties on November 14, 2013.

On January 15, 2014, the defendants filed a status report on the construction of the outdoor recreation areas. The case seems closed.

Zhandos Kuderin - 04/20/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Juveniles
Recreation / Exercise
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Missoula County
Plaintiff Description Female prisoners at the Missoula County Detention Facility
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2014 - 2016
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
9:12-cv-00155 (D. Mont.) 01/15/2014
JC-MT-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action; Complaint 09/12/2012
JC-MT-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/17/2012 (D. Mont.)
JC-MT-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Action; Second Amended Complaint 12/03/2012
JC-MT-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/10/2013 (2013 WL 139938) (D. Mont.)
JC-MT-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree, Order and Judgment Approving and Adopting Proposed Settlement Agreement 10/31/2013 (D. Mont.)
JC-MT-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/15/2013 (D. Mont.)
JC-MT-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Molloy, Donald W. (D. Mont.)
JC-MT-0002-0001 | JC-MT-0002-0003 | JC-MT-0002-0005 | JC-MT-0002-0006 | JC-MT-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Conley, Anna (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-0001 | JC-MT-0002-9000
Munro, Gregory S (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-0001 | JC-MT-0002-0002 | JC-MT-0002-0004 | JC-MT-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McClain, Martha E. (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-9000
McNeil, Charles E. (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-0001 | JC-MT-0002-9000
Twidwell, Kevin A. (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-9000
Zlatnik, Elena J. (Montana)
JC-MT-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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