University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bowers v. City of Philadelphia JC-PA-0020
Docket / Court 2:06-cv-03229-RBS ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On July 24, 2006, pre-trial detainees in the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS] filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), challenging the conditions of their confinement. Plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On July 24, 2006, pre-trial detainees in the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS] filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), challenging the conditions of their confinement. Plaintiffs, represented by the Institutional Law Project and private attorneys, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages. Plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by severe prison overcrowding and concomitant dangerous, unhealthy, and degrading conditions at local Police Districts, the Police Administration Building ("PAB") and at the intake unit of the Philadelphia Prison System ("PPS"). Plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction immediately after their complaint was filed.

The Bowers lawsuit followed 30 years of litigation over conditions of the PPS and came six years after the final settlement of another federal class action lawsuit against the PPS. See Harris v. City of Phila., No. Civ. A. 82-1847, 2000 WL 1239948, at *1 (E.D.Pa. Aug. 30, 2000). [JC-PA-1 of this collection]; See also Jackson v.Hendricks, 764 A.2d 1139, 1141 (Pa.Commw.Ct.2001) [JC-PA-10 of this collection; initially filed in 1971].

On September 8, 2006, the District Court (Judge R. Barclay Surrick) granted District Attorney Lynne Abraham's motion to intervene pursuant to The Prison Litigation Reform Act [PLRA]. Bowers v. City of Philadelphia, 2006 WL 2601604 (E.D.Pa. Sept. 8, 2006).

An evidentiary hearing was held October 3 through 6, 2006 on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. In addition, on December 12, 2006, the District Court toured the intake unit at the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility ("CFCF"), the holding cells at the PAB, and the holding cells in the 9th Police District. On January 25, 2007, the District Court (Judge Surrick) granted plaintiffs' motion and entered a preliminary injunction. Defendants' motions to dismiss was denied. The District Court's order delineated specific affirmative steps for the City to immediately undertake to redress the unconstitutional conditions at PPC. District Attorney Abraham filed a notice of appeal on the ruling.

On February 6, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion for a permanent injunction, and on August 30, 2007, the parties filed a joint motion to terminate the preliminary injunction that had been issued by the court so that the parties could enter into a private settlement agreement that was not monitored by the court. On October 10, 2007, the district court terminated the preliminary injunction and dismissed the class claims.

At this point, the only remaining claims in the lawsuit were the individual claims by the named plaintiff Bowers. On September 16, 2008, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on these claims. On December 12, 2008, the district court issued an opinion denying the defendants' motion with respect to the plaintiff's federal constitutional claims. The court granted the defendants' motion with respect to the plaintiff's state constitutional claims and state law claims for negligence, recklessness, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Bowers v. City of Philadelphia, 2008 WL 5210256 (E.D.Pa. Dec. 12, 2008). The court also denied the plaintiff's claim for partial summary judgment. Bowers v. City of Philadelphia, 2008 WL 5234357 (E.D.Pa. Dec. 12, 2008). On December 19, 2008, the district court dismissed the plaintiff's claims with prejudice.

Kristen Sagar - 10/03/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Bathing and hygiene
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
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) City of Philadelphia
Plaintiff Description Pre-trial detainees confined in the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS].
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2006 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-PA-0001 : Harris v. City of Philadelphia (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0010 : Jackson v. Hendrick (State Court)
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)
2:06-cv-03229-RBS (E.D. Pa.) 12/19/2008
JC-PA-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 07/24/2006
JC-PA-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum & Order 09/08/2006 (2006 WL 2601604) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 09/28/2006 (2006 WL 2818501) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 01/18/2007 (2007 WL 172373) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum & Order 01/25/2007 (2007 WL 219651) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/10/2007 (2007 WL 2972556) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum and Order 12/12/2008 (2008 WL 5210256) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order 12/12/2008 (2008 WL 5234357) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum and Order 12/12/2008 (2008 WL 5234318) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Surrick, Richard Barclay (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0020-0002 | JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-0009 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chase, Michael C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0001 | JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0001 | JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-0009 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Richman, David (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0001 | JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-0009 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Yeh, Su Ming (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0001 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chewning, Kerri E. (New Jersey)
JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Hart, Sarah Vandenbraak (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Kolansky, Jeffrey M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Mallios, Christopher P. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Marino, Donald C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Scott, Jeffrey M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Sitarski, Lynne A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0009 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Straw, Craig M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Travassos, Priya M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Tuttle, Richard G. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0020-0003 | JC-PA-0020-0004 | JC-PA-0020-0005 | JC-PA-0020-0006 | JC-PA-0020-0007 | JC-PA-0020-0008 | JC-PA-0020-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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