On November 15, 1989, a juvenile detainee at the Jackson County, Missouri, Juvenile Justice Center filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri against various administrators and an officer of the juvenile detention ...
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On November 15, 1989, a juvenile detainee at the Jackson County, Missouri, Juvenile Justice Center filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri against various administrators and an officer of the juvenile detention center. The class consisted of the named juvenile detainee and others similarly-situated. The plaintiff, who was represented by private counsel and the National Center for Youth Law, sought injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the conditions in the detention center violated due process. More specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the overcrowding at the center, the use of floor mattresses, and injurious health and safety conditions constituted punishment during pretrial detention.
On April 30, 1990, the District Court (Judge Dean Whipple) certified the class, denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, and denied the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, on the grounds that there was no risk of immediate and irreparable harm, because the named plaintiff had already been released from the detention center.
On April 26, 1994, a jury verdict and judgment by the court was reached. The jury awarded the named plaintiff damages for the forty-two minutes he spent in isolation where there was urine on the floor. In its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, also filed on April 26, 1994, the court (Judge Whipple) found for the defendants, on the grounds that there was no constitutional violation, and did not grant the injunctive relief sought. The juvenile detention center was responsive to the complaints about health and safety conditions, and took action to reasonably remedy the problems. The plaintiff appealed the District Court decision, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. We have no information regarding the details of the Eighth Circuit's decision. The plaintiffs' attorneys were awarded reasonable fees and expenses.Kristen Sagar - 11/08/2007