University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name John A and Mary B v. Castle JI-DE-0001
Docket / Court 90-200 ( D. Del. )
State/Territory Delaware
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On May 1, 1990, male and female youth confined at the Ferris School and Bridge House in Wilmington, Delaware, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Youth Rehabilitation Services (YRS) and the State of Delaware in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The ... read more >
On May 1, 1990, male and female youth confined at the Ferris School and Bridge House in Wilmington, Delaware, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Youth Rehabilitation Services (YRS) and the State of Delaware in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the National Prison Project of the ACLU, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law and to the least restrictive treatment under the least restrictive conditions, and under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended the defendants subjected the plaintiffs to overcrowding, fire safety hazards, unhealthy living conditions, inadequate medical care, abusive punishment, improper classification, inadequate education, lack of due process, restrictions on communication, inadequate nutrition and recreation. On January 10, 1992, the plaintiffs amended the complaint to expand the class and include more specific allegations with respect to (a) the physical environment, (b) living conditions, (c) physical and verbal abuse, (d) medical, dental and psychiatric care, (e) mental health care, programming and treatment, (e) classification, due process, and the grievance system, and (f) special education services. Further, the amended complaint added a First Amendment claim of right to access to the courts and families.

On January 16, 1992, the case was reassigned from Judge Caleb M. Wright to Judge Sue L. Robinson. On March 31, 1992, the case was reassigned from Judge Sue L. Robinson to Judge Roderick R. McKelvie.

On May 20, 1992, the District Court (Judge Roderick R. McKelvie) certified a class consisting of those presently or in the future confined at Ferris School or New Castle County Detention Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

While settlement negations proceeded, a trial was scheduled. Apparently, the Court would not allow a continuance, so the parties agreed to dismiss the case without prejudice to allow more time for settlement. This dismissal happened on May 3, 1993.

On joint motions, in January 1994, the case was restored to the active docket by vacation of the prior dismissal order.

The parties submitted their proposed settlement agreement. After a fairness hearing, on May 6, 1994, the District Court (Judge McKelvie) approved the settlement agreement and issued an order for dismissal without prejudice, finding the negotiated settlement agreement to be fair, reasonable and adequate as a basis for compromising the claims of the plaintiff class.

Under the settlement agreement, YRS agreed, for three years, (a) to follow stipulated policies on grievances, discipline, control and confinement, (b) to provide the plaintiffs with recreation, exercise, education, medical and mental health care, and (c) to do certain other things with respect to programming, staffing, life safety, sanitation and hygiene. Further, the settlement agreement required YRS to develop a plan to ensure compliance, including the appointment of a Monitor.

The dismissal order allowed the plaintiffs to move to reopen the case to request a court order for the performance of the agreement's terms.

We have no more information on this file.

Josh Altman - 05/31/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Education
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Mail
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Delaware Department of Corrections, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
Plaintiff Description youth confined at the Ferris School and Bridge House in Wilmington, Delaware
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
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 1994 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
90-200 (D. Del.) 10/02/1997
JI-DE-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint (Class Action) 11/01/1990
JI-DE-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Amended Complaint (Class Action) 01/10/1992
JI-DE-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Stipulation and Agreement for Settlement and Entry of Consent Decree (Class Action) 06/01/1993
JI-DE-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Consent Agreement and Decree (Class Action) 02/01/1994 (D. Del.)
JI-DE-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Hearing Order (Class Action), and Notice to Class 03/23/1994 (D. Del.)
JI-DE-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement (Class Action) 03/25/1994
JI-DE-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Stipulation for Settlement (Class Action) 03/25/1994
JI-DE-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal (Class Action) (5-11-94) 05/11/1994 (D. Del.)
JI-DE-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Judges McKelvie, Roderick R. (D. Del.)
JI-DE-0001-0003 | JI-DE-0001-0007 | JI-DE-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Freeman, Alexa P. (District of Columbia)
JI-DE-0001-0002
Goddess, Jeffrey S. (Delaware)
JI-DE-0001-0002 | JI-DE-0001-0003 | JI-DE-0001-0005 | JI-DE-0001-0006 | JI-DE-0001-0009 | JI-DE-0001-9000
Rosenthal, Joseph A. (Delaware)
JI-DE-0001-0001 | JI-DE-0001-9000
Winter, Margaret (District of Columbia)
JI-DE-0001-0003 | JI-DE-0001-0005 | JI-DE-0001-0006 | JI-DE-0001-0009
Wright, Claudia T. (District of Columbia)
JI-DE-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Wilson, Gregg E. (Delaware)
JI-DE-0001-0002 | JI-DE-0001-0003 | JI-DE-0001-0005 | JI-DE-0001-0006 | JI-DE-0001-0009 | JI-DE-0001-9000
Woolfolk, Aleph Ann (Delaware)
JI-DE-0001-0002 | JI-DE-0001-0003 | JI-DE-0001-0005 | JI-DE-0001-0006 | JI-DE-0001-0009 | JI-DE-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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