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Case Name Semelbauer v. Muskegon County JC-MI-0010
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-01245 ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Case Summary
On December 4, 2014, eight female inmates of Muskegon County Jail (MCJ) filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Muskegon County, ... read more >
On December 4, 2014, eight female inmates of Muskegon County Jail (MCJ) filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Muskegon County, Michigan. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Michigan and private counsel, sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages, claiming that the conditions of confinement at the MCJ are inhumane and unconstitutional.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that, in addition to being exposed to unsafe physical conditions, male guards at the prison are permitted to watch female inmates while they change clothes, shower, and use the lavatory. The plaintiffs said they also are targeted with slurs and are often denied access to clean underwear and basic sanitary items such as toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. These conditions, the plaintiffs contended, violate the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment, the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, and the prohibition against punishment of pretrial detainees under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Together with their complaint, the plaintiffs filed motions for a preliminary injunction and class certification. On February 6, 2015, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding three additional named plaintiffs. As of June 17, 2015, the District Court (Judge Janet T. Neff) has yet to rule on these motions, and the case is ongoing.

Robert Lake - 06/17/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Grievance Procedures
Over/Unlawful Detention
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Muskegon County
Plaintiff Description Eleven women who are current and former inmates of Muskegon County Jail, individually and on behalf of a putative class.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Michigan ACLU
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
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 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)
1:14-cv-01245-JTN (W.D. Mich.) 05/20/2015
JC-MI-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/04/2014
JC-MI-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 02/06/2015
JC-MI-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Neff, Janet T. (W.D. Mich.)
JC-MI-0010-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Marc S. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Aukerman, Miriam (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Carlson, Kevin M. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Johnson, Andrea J. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002
Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002
Nelson, Sofia V (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001
Pitt, Michael L. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002
Rivers, Beth M. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-0001 | JC-MI-0010-0002 | JC-MI-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brege, Andrew James (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-9000
Hughes, Douglas M. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-9000
Neagos, Horia Razvan (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-9000
Vander Laan, Allan C. (Michigan)
JC-MI-0010-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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