In 1986, inmates at the Carbon County Jail in Wyoming filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all present and future inmates of the Carbon County Jail in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by inadequacies in the areas of medical care and mental health care.
In 1987, the court (Judge Alan B. Johnson) certified the class and entered a consent decree on behalf of plaintiffs that required defendants to comply with numerous federal standards in their operation and administration of the jail. In 2003, defendants moved to terminate the consent decree pursuant to the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and plaintiffs moved for additional discovery to find defendants in contempt of the consent decree. The court denied defendants' motion to terminate and granted plaintiffs' motion for discovery, reasoning that the plaintiffs were entitled to the opportunity to present evidence of ongoing violations before the court terminated the decree. Ginest v. Bd. of Co. Comm'rs. of Carbon Co., 295 F. Supp. 2d 1274 (D. Wyo. 2003). On February 10, 2004, the court granted the plaintiffs' to motion to discover inmate medical information, ordering the defendants to turn over the necessary medical records. Ginest v. Bd. of Co. Comm'rs. of Carbon Co., 306 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (D. Wyo. 2004).
After discovery, on February 5, 2002, the parties entered into a Private Settlement Agreement, to be in effect for eighteenth months. It duly expired on August 6, 2003. We do not have this agreement, but apparently plaintiffs agreed, as one of its provisions, to limit any demonstration of unconstitutional conditions to facts after February 5, 2002.
On July 27, 2004, the court granted plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment and denied defendants' motion to terminate the consent decree, finding that the defendants had violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiff class by failing to provide adequate medical care, inadequate medical record keeping, and a lack of training in suicide prevention. The court ordered defendants to submit a proposed remedial plan to the court within 30 days. Ginest v. Bd. of Co. Comm'rs. of Carbon Co., 333 F. Supp. 2d 1190 (D. Wyo. 2004).
On February 1, 2005, the District Court adopted a remedial plan. We don't have a copy of this document, but we know that it included numerous jail policies and appointed Glenn Biggs as compliance monitor. The plan required the monitor to submit an audit report to the court every two months. The parties also settled plaintiffs' counsel's fee petition as of that date.
After February 1, 2005, plaintiffs' counsel continued to monitor the defendants' compliance with the remedial plan, as well as the compliance monitor's actions to monitor the defendants. Apparently the plaintiffs sought and obtained contempt sanctions at some point before May 2005.
After this, though it is unclear exactly when, plaintiffs' counsel moved to recover fees and out of pocket costs, including travel expenses, associated with his monitoring of the case. The defendants objected, arguing that Pevar should not be compensated for monitoring the defendants' compliance when the court had already appointed Glenn Biggs to be the compliance monitor. The Court observed that attorney fees for a prevailing party in a § 1983 action under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) were "exceptionally low" (maximum $135/hour). Thus, the Court found that in this case - one in which Mr. Pevar achieved exceptional results - a 25% fee enhancement was merited. The Court then reviewed Pevar's fee motion and granted it. Ginest v. Bd. of Co. Comm'rs. of Carbon Co., 423 F.Supp.2d 1237 (D.Wyo. 2006).
The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the last reported decision in 2006.Kristen Sagar - 08/31/2007