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Case Name Carver v. Knox County JC-TN-0005
Docket / Court 3-86-299 ( E.D. Tenn )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On April 25, 1986, a jail inmate filed a pro se lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee under 42 USC §1983 against Knox County and Tennessee officials regarding conditions at the Knox County Jail. A magistrate judge grated the inmate counsel and the case was ... read more >
On April 25, 1986, a jail inmate filed a pro se lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee under 42 USC §1983 against Knox County and Tennessee officials regarding conditions at the Knox County Jail. A magistrate judge grated the inmate counsel and the case was eventually certified as a class action. Plaintiffs were represented by the University of Tennessee Legal Clinic. On January 25, 1989, the district court (Judge James H. Jarvis) found serious overcrowding at two of the three Knox County facilities. Carver v. Knox County, 753 F.Supp 1370 (E.D. Tenn. 1989). The court held that this overcrowding led to unconstitutional conditions and ordered the county and state to reduce the prison populations. The state defendants filed a motion for change of venue to consolidate this action with Grubbs v. Reynolds (PC-TN-0007), a class action lawsuit concerning conditions within the state prison system, that was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. The motion was denied.

Judge Jarvis issued another opinion regarding the overcrowded conditions on March 17, 1989, after hearing further evidence from the parties. Carver v. Knox County, 753 F.Supp. 1394 (E.D. Tenn 1989). The court ordered the removal of more state prisoners from the jail. Judge Jarvis noted that the overcrowded conditions were a result of the 1985 order by Judge Thomas A. Higgins in the Grubbs litigation (PC-TN-0007) in the Middle District of Tennessee, which limited the number of inmates who could be accommodated within the Tennessee State Prison System, slowing down the movement of inmates from county to state facilities.

On appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Pierce Lively) noted that there were conflicting goals between this Carver case and the Grubbs litigation. Carver v. Knox County, 887 F.2d 1287 (6th Cir. 1989). The Sixth Circuit ordered the district court to sever the claims against the state defendants and transfer them to the Middle District of Tennessee. It also found that the district court's conclusion that all of the unconstitutional conditions at the Knox County facilities were a result of inmates from the state system was not supported by the evidence. The claims against the county defendants were remanded to the district court. The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on April 30, 1990. Knox County v. McWherter, 495 U.S. 919 (1990)

On remand, Judge Jarvis adopted his previous opinions except as they discussed the cause of the unconstitutional conditions. Carver v. Knox County, 753 F.Supp. 1398 (E.D. Tenn. 1990). Judge Jarvis wrote in a confrontational tone that "the court concludes that it has already accomplished precisely what the Sixth Circuit now orders on remand."

Kristen Sagar - 06/13/2007
Richard Jolly - 11/04/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Library (non-law) access
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Knox County
Plaintiff Description inmates of the Knox County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1989 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1990
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing PC-TN-0007 : Grubbs v. Bradley (M.D. Tenn.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order 01/25/1989 (753 F.Supp. 1370) (E.D. Tenn)
JC-TN-0005-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion 03/17/1989 (753 F.Supp. 1394) (E.D. Tenn)
JC-TN-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 10/06/1989 (887 F.2d 1287)
JC-TN-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion 03/19/1990 (753 F.Supp. 1398) (E.D. Tenn)
JC-TN-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Cert Denial 04/30/1990 (495 U.S. 919)
JC-TN-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Jarvis, James Howard II (E.D. Tenn)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Lively, Pierce (Sixth Circuit)
JC-TN-0005-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Eldridge, John E. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Rivkin, Dean (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Beeler, Richard T. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Burson, Charles W. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0002
Duffey, John (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Himmelreich, Davis (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Spann, Kimbra Rowlette (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0002
Watson, Robert H. Sr. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0001 | JC-TN-0005-0002 | JC-TN-0005-0003 | JC-TN-0005-0004
Workman, Dale C. (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0005-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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