University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Law v. Britt JI-NC-0001
Docket / Court 5:93-ct-00300 ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Case Summary
On May 17, 1993, juveniles detained in North Carolina detention centers filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the Secretary of Human Resources and the various regional detention centers. The class ... read more >
On May 17, 1993, juveniles detained in North Carolina detention centers filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the Secretary of Human Resources and the various regional detention centers. The class consisted of all juveniles who were confined in the detention centers. Private counsel represented the class. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the conditions at the juvenile detention centers violated the constitutional guarantees of due process and freedom from unreasonable seizure, punishment, and to cruel and unusual punishment.

According to the complaint, the detention centers were overcrowded and inadequately staffed. The overcrowding and understaffing increased the risk of inmate-on-inmate violence. The health care, classification system, recreation, and educational programs were all inadequate.

On September 30, 1994, the case was consolidated with Simpson v. Britt (Docket No. 94-00581).

After discovery and negotiation, the parties reached a settlement agreement. On February 22, 1995, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Denson) approved a settlement agreement. The agreement provided for a reduction in the number of juveniles confined in the detention center, a good faith effort to provide additional staff, the development and implementation of a medical care plan, a mental health care plan, and the development and implementation of an educational plan. Additionally, a behavior management system was specifically outlined. The defendant was required to standardize intake procedures, develop and implement a classification system, provide recreation and programming, and develop and implement a policy regarding visitation, telephone use, and mail.

The case was dismissed with prejudice on January 20, 1998.

Kaitlin Corkran - 06/04/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Crowding
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Education
Recreation / Exercise
Totality of conditions
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) Cumberland Regional Detention Center
Department of Human Resources
various regional detention centers
Plaintiff Description all juveniles who were confined in North Carolina detention centers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1995 - 1998
Case Closing Year 1998
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
5:94-ct-00581 (E.D.N.C.) 07/26/1995
JI-NC-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:93-ct-00300 (E.D.N.C.) 01/20/1998
JI-NC-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Substitute Second Amended Class Action Complaint 11/10/1994
JI-NC-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement and Notice to Class 02/22/1995
JI-NC-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Britt, William Earl (E.D.N.C.)
JI-NC-0001-9000 | JI-NC-0001-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Seigle, Jeffrey M. (North Carolina)
JI-NC-0001-0001
Sparrow, Marvin (North Carolina)
JI-NC-0001-0001 | JI-NC-0001-9000 | JI-NC-0001-9001
VandenBerg, Kathryn L. (North Carolina)
JI-NC-0001-0001 | JI-NC-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Corne, John R. (North Carolina)
JI-NC-0001-9000 | JI-NC-0001-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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