University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lollis v. Dept. of Social Services JI-NY-0007
Docket / Court 70-4750 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
In 1970, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all children confined to New York State Training Schools and subject to lengthy periods of solitary confinement and against the New York State ... read more >
In 1970, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all children confined to New York State Training Schools and subject to lengthy periods of solitary confinement and against the New York State Department of Social Services and the director of Brookwood Annex to Hudson State Training School for Girls. The plaintiffs, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief, alleging that Brookwood violated their constitutional rights by isolating detainees for excessive periods of time.

The named plaintiff in this case was confined at Brookwood after she was adjudged to be a person in need of supervision (PINS), but had never committed a crime. Brookwood placed juveniles in isolation without notice or any hearing. According to the court, seclusion at Brookwood amounted to prolonged sensory deprivation. Juveniles confined at Brookwood could be isolated, clad only in pajamas, for weeks at a time in a stripped 6' by 9' room without access to books and recreation equipment. Social workers and other staff visited secluded juveniles erratically.

This lawsuit and Pena v. New York State Division for Youth, JI-NY-006, were treated as companion cases but were not consolidated because Pena addressed more issues that Lollis. The plaintiffs in both lawsuits moved for preliminary injunctions, with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Morris E. Lasker) granted on December 18, 1970. Lollis v. New York State Dept. of Soc. Serv., 322 F. Supp. 473 (S.D.N.Y. 1970). Although the court declined to find isolation of juvenile detainees unconstitutional per se, the court held that isolating a juvenile in a stripped room with no form of stimuli for weeks at a time was cruel and unusual punishment.

On April 30, 1971, the court modified the injunction to comport with the holding in Sostre v. McGinnis, 442 F.2d 178 (2d Cir. 1971), that federal courts should not determine which modes of punishment are available for use in State prisons. Lollis v. New York State Dept. of Soc. Serv., 328 F. Supp. 1115 (S.D.N.Y. 1971). The court, therefore, narrowed the injunction to only benefit the named plaintiffs.

Kristen Sagar - 11/12/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Administrative segregation
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Library (non-law) access
Recreation / Exercise
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York State Deparmtent of Social Services
Plaintiff Description all children confined to New York State Training Schools and subject to lengthy periods of solitary confinement
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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 Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1970 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JI-NY-0006 : Pena v. New York State Division for Youth (S.D.N.Y.)
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 12/18/1970 (322 F.Supp. 473) (S.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/30/1971 (328 F.Supp. 1115) (S.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Lasker, Morris Edward (D. Mass., S.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0007-0001 | JI-NY-0007-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Neuborne, Burt (New York)
JI-NY-0007-0001 | JI-NY-0007-0002
Silbert, James D. (New York)
JI-NY-0007-0001 | JI-NY-0007-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Hoffman, Hillel (New York)
JI-NY-0007-0001 | JI-NY-0007-0002
Lefkowitz, Louis J. (New York)
JI-NY-0007-0001 | JI-NY-0007-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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