University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Phillips v. County of Bucks JC-PA-0002
Docket / Court Civ. A. 98-6415 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On December 11, 1998, women who were then or had previously been housed at the Bucks County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, against Bucks County and its officials, ... read more >
On December 11, 1998, women who were then or had previously been housed at the Bucks County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, against Bucks County and its officials, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages, for the County's failure to segregate inmates needing mental health treatment in a separate unit as was done in the men's facility. Two of the plaintiffs were in need of mental health treatment, but were no longer incarcerated; the other two plaintiffs feared being injured by an inmate suffering from a mental health condition.In an August 9, 1999, memorandum and order, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Judge James McGirr Kelly) granted defendants' motion to dismiss in part. Phillips v. Co. of Bucks, No. 98-6415, 1999 WL 600541 (Aug. 9, 1999 E.D.Pa.). The court found that the plaintiffs who were still incarcerated but were not in need of mental health treatment lacked standing because they failed to show that they suffered from an actual or threatened injury. The other two plaintiffs lacked standing to seek injunctive relief because they were no longer incarcerated; though they did have standing to seek redress for past injuries, they could not seek judgment against counties or county officials in their official capacities, and all such claims were dismissed. Only the claims for individual liability against certain officials survived the motion to dismiss.

On December 16, 1999, the court adopted the parties' stipulation and order clarifying the Court's August, 1999, order and granting in part the defendants' motion to dismiss. It appears from the docket on PACER that the court was concerned that the defendants may have waived their Eleventh Amendment immunities in the stipulation, but it is unclear in what way. It appears that a task force was established, and that the term of the task force was to last for six months commencing from March 1, 2001. On March 29, 2002, the last entry on PACER, a memorandum of law by the plaintiffs supported the establishment of a County Jail Oversight Board in the County of Bucks.

Megan Raynor - 03/06/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Classification / placement
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Bucks County
Plaintiff Description Women who are or previously were housed at the Bucks County Correctional Facility alleging the jail failed to segregate inmates needing mental health treatment in a separate unit, instead keeping these inmates in the general population
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2001 - 2001
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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)
98-06415 (E.D. Pa.) 03/29/2002
JC-PA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order 08/09/1999 (1999 WL 600541 / 1999 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 22338) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Kelly, James McGirr (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0002-0001 | JC-PA-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alberts, Anita F. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0002-9000
Sperling, Martha (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cohen, Jack S. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0002-9000
Downey, James A. III (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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