University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Doe v. Younger JI-KY-0002
Docket / Court 91-187 ( E.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Youth Law Center
Case Summary
On November 21, 1991, juveniles confined in the Kenton County Detention Center filed a class action lawsuit against Kenton County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Juvenile Justice Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5601 et seq., and applicable Kentucky constitutional provisions ... read more >
On November 21, 1991, juveniles confined in the Kenton County Detention Center filed a class action lawsuit against Kenton County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Juvenile Justice Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5601 et seq., and applicable Kentucky constitutional provisions and statutes. Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and were represented by the Children's Law Center, Inc., Youth Law Center, and Northern Kentucky Children's Law Center.

Plaintiffs alleged that there were not enough trained personnel at the juvenile facility, which resulted in inadequate supervision. Plaintiffs also alleged that defendant's classification system, medical and mental health care, education, recreation, and religious programming were all insufficient. Further, juveniles were housed in the same facility as adult offenders, and the juveniles could communicate with the adults through the walls, which plaintiffs asserted was in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act. Plaintiffs asserted defendants also violated the Act by placing status or non-offenders in secure detention. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On August 24, 1992, the district court (Judge William O. Bertelsman) reversed defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court disagreed with defendants who contended that plaintiffs' constitutional claims were too vague and also found that an Eleventh Amendment immunity defense was not applicable to the defendants. On October 21, 1992, the court (Judge Bertelsman) denied the county defendant's motion to amend the record to state that he was being sued in his official capacity only with respect to the Department of Corrections and not as to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Doe v. Commonwealth, No. 91-187, 1992 WL 672380 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 21, 1992). The court also granted plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend their complaint to add the governor of the Commonwealth as a party.

On January 13, 1993, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification. On March 22, 1996, the court bifurcated the conditions of confinement issues from the education issues in this case, and a three-day trial followed in April of 1996. On July 26, 1996 the court issued an order holding that confining juveniles who have not been indicted or convicted of a crime for longer than fifteen days violates the right to due process. The order also required that at least two guards, one male and one female, be on duty at all times; however, the court did not require defendants to improve staff training. The court also did not require defendants to develop recreational programming, but it did require that the juveniles be offered at minimum one hour per day for recreation and exercise. The court reserved ruling on fire safety issues and appointed an expert to investigate the facility and report its findings. On the same day, the court issued an amended judgment setting forth the fifteen-day limit, two guard minimum requirement, and one hour daily recreation and exercise requirement stated in the order.

On September 26, 1997, the parties entered into a settlement agreement where defendants agreed to no longer detain youth at the Kenton County Detention Center after March 1, 1999, at which time a new facility for juveniles would open. Both parties agreed to dismiss the case at that point. Defendants also agreed to improve fire safety in the interim by installing smoke detectors in the juveniles' cells and common areas, improving evacuation plans, and having compliance monitoring. The parties did not include education issues as part of the settlement. On December 16, 1997 the court submitted an order approving the parties' settlement agreement.

In a December 16, 1997 opinion and order by the court, the court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment regarding the education issues. The court found that plaintiffs failed to submit any evidence of deficiencies in the educational programs and failed to establish a viable claim against defendants with regard to the basic education provided at the facility. The court also denied plaintiffs' special education claim because of plaintiffs' failure to exhaust administrative remedies. On the same day, with the settlement agreement submitted in regards to conditions of confinement and all educational issues dismissed, the court entered a final judgment on the case. The docket continues until July 26, 1997 with a joint status report submitted to the court.

Kristen Sagar - 11/05/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Fire safety
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Youth / Adult separation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action State law
Juvenile Justice Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5672
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Kenton County Detention Center
The Commonwealth of Kentucky
Plaintiff Description Juveniles confined in the Kenton County Detention Center
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Youth Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1996 - 1999
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
91-187 (E.D. Ky.) 07/26/1999
JI-KY-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Civil Rights Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and other Equitable Relief (Class Action 05/01/1992
JI-KY-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 08/24/1992 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0002 PDF | Detail
Order 10/21/1992 (1992 WL 672380) (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0009 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order 07/26/1996 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0003 PDF | Detail
Amended Judgment 07/26/1996 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0004 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement 09/26/1997
JI-KY-0002-0005 PDF | Detail
Order 12/16/1997 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0006 PDF | Detail
Opinion & Order 12/16/1997 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0007 PDF | Detail
Judgment 12/16/1997 (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0008 PDF | Detail
Judges Bertelsman, William Odis (E.D. Ky.)
JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-0003 | JI-KY-0002-0004 | JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-0006 | JI-KY-0002-0007 | JI-KY-0002-0008 | JI-KY-0002-0009 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bell, James Raymond (California)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Brooks, Kim (Kentucky)
Isaacs, C. McGehee (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Redwine, James T. (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Soler, Mark I. (District of Columbia)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Tandy, Kimberly Brooks (Kentucky)
Wilber, Shannan l. (California)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bonar, Barbara D (Kentucky)
Burd, James M. (Kentucky)
Choy, Sun S (Kentucky)
Cordery, Suzanne D. (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Durham, Stephen (Kentucky)
Edmondson, Garry L. (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Elfers, John R. (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-0005
Fossett, John Jay (Kentucky)
Geisler, Maria T (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Hardison, Keith (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Hectus, C. Thomas (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Hellmann, Thomas J (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0001 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Jones, Barbara Willett (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Keal, R. Thaddeus (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0005 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Klatte, E D (Kentucky)
Meyer, Joseph U (Kentucky)
Nevitt, W. Kenneth (Kentucky)
JI-KY-0002-0002 | JI-KY-0002-9000
Noland, Kevin M (Kentucky)
Sipek, Mark A (Kentucky)
Other Lawyers None on record

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