University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Miles v. Sampson JC-NH-0001
Docket / Court 77-???? ( D.N.H. )
State/Territory New Hampshire
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In 1977, an inmate of the Rockingham County Jail brought a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the officials of Rockingham County Jail. In his complaint he alleged that he was being kept in solitary confinement under ... read more >
In 1977, an inmate of the Rockingham County Jail brought a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the officials of Rockingham County Jail. In his complaint he alleged that he was being kept in solitary confinement under conditions so poor as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment, that he was denied medical treatment, and that he was denied the right to confer with his attorney, despite requests. It is unclear what relief he sought at the time.

In 1979, attorney Ronald Cook entered on behalf of the plaintiff and filed an amended complaint, seeking declaratory relief, actual and punitive damages, and costs and attorneys' fees. After over a year of negotiations, both parties entered into a consent decree, which provided no relief to plaintiff but did contain an admission that the defendants violated a term of a court order in Feeley v. Sampson, no. 75-171 (D.N.H. Sept., 24, 1976) JC-NH-0002 in this Clearinghouse. That provision required that due process, in the form of a hearing, be given in any instance of solitary confinement lasting more than twenty-four hours. Plaintiff had spent seven days in one instance and three days in another, which the consent decree recognized as unlawful under the rules of the district court's order. However, it awarded no damages or any other relief, and reserved the question as to what fees and costs were to go to the attorneys.

Plaintiff's attorneys, who at this time consisted of two practicing attorneys and a law student intern, petitioned for attorneys' fees, which the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire (Judge Shane Devine) awarded in reduced amount. The attorneys appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals at the same time they submitted a motion for clarification seeking an explanation for what hours they were being compensated for. The attorneys challenged both the initial fee award and the more detailed explanatory response. The First Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Stephen Breyer) affirmed the lower court, finding that the attorneys' failure to obtain a wholly successful result on plaintiff's complaint, coupled with an appropriate fee structure (despite attorneys' argument to the contrary) indicated that their cause had no merit. Miles v. Sampson, 675 F.2d 5 (1st Cir. 1982).

No further information is available on PACER or Westlaw.

Rebecca Bloch - 02/20/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Rockingham County Jail
Plaintiff Description Prisoners bringing action against officials in charge of county jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Reported Opinion 03/25/1982 (675 F.2d 5)
JC-NH-0001-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
JC-NH-0001-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers Backus, Robert A. (New Hampshire)
JC-NH-0001-0001
Carleton, Eldredge (New Hampshire)
JC-NH-0001-0001

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