This was a Section 1983 case filed by an inmate challenging the conditions of confinement in a hospital isolation cell in a county house of corrections. Plaintiff was an inmate at the Hampden County House of Correction in Massachusetts. He was confined to a hospital isolation cell when he filed this action on October 2, 1979, and sought declaratory and injunctive relief, along with damages, against five defendants named individually and in their official capacities. Plaintiff Strachan was represented by the Prisoners Legal Assistance Clinic at the Western New England College of Law.
In his complaint the plaintiff made allegations regarding the conditions of his isolation cell, including inadequate sanitation, heating, food temperature, bedding, and recreation. After
Discovery, the plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint, which expanded the claims of plaintiff to claims on behalf of a class of persons similarly situated. In August 1980, the plaintiff moved for class certification and the matter was referred to a magistrate. The magistrate recommended denial of the motion, but the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Frank Freedman) rejected the magistrate's recommendation and ordered that a hearing be scheduled. The plaintiff also moved for partial summary judgment on his claim for damages, and a hearing was held on those motions on June 4, 1982. After the hearing, Judge Freedman told the parties he would leave the record open for one week to permit the parties to file additional evidentiary materials.
In a reported decision dated October 13, 1982, the district court refused to certify the class. Strachan v. Ashe, 548 F.Supp. 1193 (D. Mass. 1982).The court held that the conditions of confinement in the hospital isolation cell amounted to cruel and unusual punishment of the individual plaintiff and that the jail officials could be held liable for monetary damages. The court thus granted plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, and stated that the case could proceed to trial on the issue of damages.
There is no docket available for this case, and there is no indication of whether damages were paid or if the case was ever resolved and closed.Theresa Spaulding - 06/16/2005