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Case Name ACLU of Michigan v. Livingston County JC-MI-0009
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-11213-DPH-RSW ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Case Summary
On March 24, 2014, ACLU of Michigan, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting individuals' constitutional rights, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against Livingston County, Livingston County's sheriff, and jail administrator, under 42 ... read more >
On March 24, 2014, ACLU of Michigan, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting individuals' constitutional rights, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against Livingston County, Livingston County's sheriff, and jail administrator, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, and attorney's fees, alleging that the defendants violated their constitutional rights by their "postcard only" policy, which required all mail sent to the jail, except bona fide legal mail, had to be on standard white postcards with no pictures. As a result, ACLU's mail to the inmates was not delivered. The plaintiffs alleged violation of their First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights.

On April 9, 2014, the plaintiffs filed motions for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction. On April 11, 2014, the Court (Judge Denise Page Hood) issued an order granting the TRO and ordering the jail to deliver ACLU's mail to specifically named inmates. On April 25, 2014, the Court extended the TRO until May 13, 2014. On May 15, 2014, the Court granted the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. The Court reasoned that the mail sent by ACLU to the prisoners was, in fact, legal mail, and enjoined the defendants from refusing to deliver the mail to prisoners. The prison was ordered to continue delivering ACLU's mail to the prisoners, and if any prisoner was no longer in custody, the prison had to return the mail, indicating that. The defendants appealed the injunction to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On May 16, 2014, the defendants filed a motion to stay the injunction pending the appeal. The District Court denied the motion on May 27, 2014, stating that, although the defendants will suffer some harm, the balancing of public interests weighs in favor of denying stay. On July 10, 2014, the Sixth Circuit also denied the motion to stay, stating that ACLU's would likely be ruled legal mail and that the balancing of public interests weighs in favor of denying stay.

On August 11, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction for the plaintiff. The court reasoned that the preliminary injunction was appropriate on the grounds that the plaintiff was likely to succeed on their First and Fourteenth Amendment claims. Litigation is ongoing.

Zhandos Kuderin - 07/29/2014
Erin Pamukcu - 02/21/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Livingston County
Plaintiff Description The ACLU of Michigan
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
2:14-cv-11213 (E.D. Mich.) 01/15/2016
JC-MI-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint 03/24/2014
JC-MI-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Notice Setting Hearing Date on Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/11/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
JC-MI-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Extension of Temporary Restraining Order [#21] 04/25/2014 (E.D. Mich.)
JC-MI-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [#11] 05/15/2014 (23 F.Supp.3d 834) (E.D. Mich.)
JC-MI-0009-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion to Stay] 07/10/2014
JC-MI-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 08/11/2015 (796 F.3d 636)
JC-MI-0009-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cole, Ransey Guy Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
JC-MI-0009-0001
Gibbons, Julia Smith (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit)
JC-MI-0009-0001
Hood, Denise Page (E.D. Mich.)
JC-MI-0009-0003 | JC-MI-0009-0004 | JC-MI-0009-0005 | JC-MI-0009-9000
Moore, Karen Nelson (Sixth Circuit)
JC-MI-0009-0001 | JC-MI-0009-0006
Whalen, R. Steven (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
JC-MI-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-0002 | JC-MI-0009-9000
Mahoney, P. Michael (Illinois)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-0002
Rolecki, John Joseph (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-0002 | JC-MI-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Curlew, Douglas J. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Daley, Karen M. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Lowry, Sara E. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Peck, Lindsey A. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Seward, T. Joseph (Michigan)
JC-MI-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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