University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Richardson PC-NM-0005
Docket / Court 05-cv-1168 ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On November 7, 2005, Freedom from Religious Foundation, Inc., along with several individual members of the organization who were New Mexico taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against the New Mexico Corrections Department and Correction Corporation ... read more >
On November 7, 2005, Freedom from Religious Foundation, Inc., along with several individual members of the organization who were New Mexico taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against the New Mexico Corrections Department and Correction Corporation of America, a private contractor paid to run the New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility (NMWCF) in Grants County. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a cause of action for violation of federal rights under the color of state law, alleging that the CCA's use of Christian faith-based programming in NMWCF constituted an endorsement of religion and violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The parties consented to proceed before a magistrate judge.

On January 31, 2007, the Court (Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi) denied a variety of motions for summary judgement regarding whether Plaintiffs had stated a valid claim, whether Plaintiffs' taxpayer status gave them standing to sue, and whether the Christian program at NMWCF violated the Establishment Clause.

On June 26, 2007, the Court notified the parties of its intention to withdraw its decisions on the summary judgement motions and to dismiss the Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice or grant summary judgement for Defendants on the issue of taxpayer standing. The Court asked the parties to submit arguments about the proposed action. Instead, on July 6, 2007, the parties moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, which the Court did the same day. The case is now closed.

Kristen Sagar - 02/27/2007
Kenneth Gray - 08/01/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Classification / placement
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New Mexico Corrections Department
Plaintiff Description Freedom from Religious Foundation Inc., a religious non-stock corporation with members who are opposed to government endorsement of religion and taxpayers who are opposed to the use of state taxpayer appropriations to advance, endorse, or promote religion
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
05-cv-01168 (D.N.M.) 11/15/2006
PC-NM-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 11/07/2005
PC-NM-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Order 01/31/2007 (D.N.M.)
PC-NM-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order Denying Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment for Lack Of Standing 01/31/2007 (D.N.M.)
PC-NM-0005-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Molzen, Karen Ballard (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
PC-NM-0005-9000
Puglisi, Richard L. (D.N.M., D. Haw.) [Magistrate]
PC-NM-0005-0002 | PC-NM-0005-0003 | PC-NM-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baker, Adam S. (New Mexico)
PC-NM-0005-0001 | PC-NM-0005-9000
Bolton, Richard L. (Wisconsin)
PC-NM-0005-0001 | PC-NM-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gottlieb, Gail (New Mexico)
PC-NM-0005-9000
Thomas, Benjamin E (New Mexico)
PC-NM-0005-9000
Thomsen, David K (New Mexico)
PC-NM-0005-9000
Tourek, David K (New Mexico)
PC-NM-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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