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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Disability Rights Montana v. Opper PC-MT-0008
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00025-SEH ( D. Mont. )
State/Territory Montana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On March 31, 2014, Disability Rights Montana, Inc., a not-for-profit advocating for mentally ill individuals incarcerated at the Montana State Prison, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the district of Montana. The plaintiff sued the state of Montana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, ... read more >
On March 31, 2014, Disability Rights Montana, Inc., a not-for-profit advocating for mentally ill individuals incarcerated at the Montana State Prison, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the district of Montana. The plaintiff sued the state of Montana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the American with Disabilities Act and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Other Rehabilitation Services Act. The plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Montana and private attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, Disability Rights Montana claimed that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services violated mentally ill prisoners' Fifth Amendment rights to due process. Specifically, that prisoners deemed "Guilty But Mentally Ill" were transferred from the custody of the Montana State Hospital to the Montana State Prison without reasonable notice, legal counsel, or the ability to appeal, among other things.

Disability Rights Montana also claimed that the Montana Department of Corrections violated mentally ill prisoners' Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and their rights to reasonable accommodations for their mental illnesses under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that after transfer to the Montana State Prison, those deemed "Guilty But Mentally Ill" were subjected to such treatment as accusations of faking their mental illnesses, solitary confinement and a denial of adequate mental health care.

The defendants from Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court, Judge Sam E. Haddon, held a hearing on July 23, 2014 and issued an order the next day dismissing part of the complaint against the MDPHHS defendants. Judge Haddon dismissed one of the claims because the defendants from MDPHHS had not worked there during the time that several of the plaintiffs had been incarcerated.

Because of this dismissal, Disability Rights Montana filed two amended complaints, one aimed at the defendants from MDPHHS and the other aimed at MDOC.

As of February 16, 2016, the parties are currently in discovery and pre-trial motions.

Kat Brausch - 02/16/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Montana
Montana
Plaintiff Description Disability Rights Montana, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy agency acting on behalf of the mentally ill prisoners in the Montana State Prison.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
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 Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-00025 (D. Mont.) 10/09/2015
PC-MT-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/28/2014
PC-MT-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 07/24/2014 (D. Mont.)
PC-MT-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 10/31/2014
PC-MT-0008-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint as to Defendants Opper and Glueckert 05/08/2015
PC-MT-0008-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint Against Defendants Mike Batista and Leroy Kirkegard 05/08/2015
PC-MT-0008-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Haddon, Sam E. (D. Mont.)
PC-MT-0008-0004 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boggs, Tammy H. (California)
PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Conley, Anna (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Ellingson, Jon (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Gray, Kyle A. (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-0001 | PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Lee, Matthew D. (Wisconsin)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Miller, Adrian Ann (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Simmons, Jeffrey A. (Wisconsin)
PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Taylor, James Park (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-0005 | PC-MT-0008-0007 | PC-MT-0008-0008 | PC-MT-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ambrose, Colleen E (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Crowley, William L. (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Kauffman, Michael Alan (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Kohman, Paulette L. (Washington)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Leonard, Thomas J (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Rogers, Mary Cile Glover (Montana)
PC-MT-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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