University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Dawson v. Kendrick JC-WV-0004
Docket / Court 78-1076 ( S.D. W. Va. )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
Inmates at the Mercer County Jail in West Virginia filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the West Virginia Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The inmates alleged that their rights had been violated by a totality ... read more >
Inmates at the Mercer County Jail in West Virginia filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the West Virginia Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The inmates alleged that their rights had been violated by a totality of conditions at the jail. Specifically, the plaintiffs complained about deficiencies in the areas of overcrowding, plumbing, lighting, sanitation, fire safety, classification, disciplinary procedures, administrative segregation procedures, clothing allowances, toilet articles, exercise opportunities, medical care, dental care, nutrition, mail, telephone use, visitation, reading materials, rehabilitation programs, access to courts, and discrimination.

On November 5, 1980 and January 21, 1981, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Judge John Thomas Copenhaver) granted temporary relief to the plaintiffs, ordering the defendants to effect a fifty-percent increase in the number of full-time jail deputies, and to provide visual surveillance of the segregated inmates at least once every ten minutes, psychiatric evaluation of segregated inmates, daily exercise for inmates segregated longer than thirty days, increased visitation privileges, and elimination of the drunk tank.

In January, 1981, Sheriff Earl Kendrick left his job, and Sheriff Donald Hare took office. The new sheriff made significant strides to comply with the court's temporary relief decrees. On August 10, 1981, the court (Judge Copenhaver) held that the conditions at the jail violated the inmates' constitutional rights. The court made permanent the formerly temporary orders of relief, and further ordered the defendants to file plans for correction of constitutional violations with the court by October 12, 1981. The court also enjoined the defendants from using the "dungeon" on the third floor of the jail to house prisoners. Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252 (S.D.W.V. 1981). As we only have the district court opinion, we have no further information on this case.

Kristen Sagar - 06/15/2007


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Education
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Mail
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) West Virginia Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Past and present inmates of a county jail located in West Virginia complaining of extensive denials of their various constitutional rights due to conditions allegedly existing at the jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
1:78−cv−01076 (S.D. W. Va.) 06/15/1978
JC-WV-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Opinion and Order 08/10/1981 (527 F.Supp. 1252) (S.D. W. Va.)
JC-WV-0004-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Copenhaver, John Thomas Jr. (S.D. W. Va.)
JC-WV-0004-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hirshman, Tobias J. (West Virginia)
JC-WV-0004-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Cunningham, Charles T. (West Virginia)
JC-WV-0004-0001
Knight, David W. (West Virginia)
JC-WV-0004-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -