University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Harrelson v. Elmore County JC-AL-0009
Docket / Court 94-520 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Case Summary
A paraplegic inmate filed a lawsuit on May 3, 1994 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, various state laws, and a consent ... read more >
A paraplegic inmate filed a lawsuit on May 3, 1994 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, various state laws, and a consent decree (in some unnamed case, entered 11/10/1992). The plaintiff alleged that he was denied use of his wheelchair, was not provided with toilet or shower facilities designed for disabled persons, was not provided with cold water in his cell, and was forced to sleep in a cell that was too small, resulting in an injury to his foot and leg.

The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages. The District Court (Judge William Harold Albritton III) dismissed the plaintiff's request for punitive damages, holding that cities and counties are immune from punitive damages under § 1983 and punitive damages are not available under the ADA. Additionally, the District Court held that violation of the consent decree could not be a basis for the suit. Harrelson v. Elmore County, 859 F.Supp. 1465 (M.D.Ala. 1994).

On August 23, 1995, the District Court granted summary judgment for the defendants for all claims brought pursuant to § 1983 and eliminating some of the plaintiff's ADA claims. Additionally, the District Court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment for all claims based on state law. On November 8, 1995, a jury found against the plaintiff and for Elmore County. The case was closed on November 9, 1995, and motions to vacate judgment and for a new trial were subsequently denied. The docket entries on an administrative matter continued through November 2001.

This case is in the Clearinghouse only because it refers to the earlier consent decree.

David Terry - 03/27/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Personal injury
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) Elmore County
Plaintiff Description Paraplegic inmate alleging violations by the city and county of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1995
Case Ongoing No
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)
94-A-520-N (M.D. Ala.) 11/07/2001
JC-AL-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 08/03/1994 (859 F.Supp. 1465) (M.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Albritton, William Harold III (M.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0009-0001 | JC-AL-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Farnell, Daniel Reese Jr. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-0001 | JC-AL-0009-9000
Taliaferro, Dan W. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davidson, Kelly G. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-9000
Holtsford, Alex L. Jr. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-0001 | JC-AL-0009-9000
Pilcher, Mary Egleston (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-9000
Webb, Kendrick E. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0009-0001 | JC-AL-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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