University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Department of Corrections v. Human Rights Commission PC-VT-0002
Docket / Court 2004-503 ( State Court )
State/Territory Vermont
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Case Summary
The case involves an appeal to the Supreme Court of Vermont on the issue of whether the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, 9 V.S.A. §§ 4500-4507 [the Act], applies to state correctional facilities, thereby giving the Human Rights Commission [the Commission] jurisdiction to ... read more >
The case involves an appeal to the Supreme Court of Vermont on the issue of whether the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, 9 V.S.A. §§ 4500-4507 [the Act], applies to state correctional facilities, thereby giving the Human Rights Commission [the Commission] jurisdiction to investigate complaints filed by state prisoners alleging violations of the Act.

In November 2003, the Commission served a subpoena on the Department of Corrections [DOC] in connection with a discrimination charge filed on behalf of a state prisoner who complained that a correctional facility discriminated against him on the basis of his disability. The DOC moved the Commission to quash the subpoena on the theory that the prison was not a "place of public accommodation" under the Act. The Commission denied the request.

The DOC then moved to quash the subpoena in Superior Court. In September 2004, the request was denied following a hearing. The Superior Court issued a stay pending appeal by the DOC.

On appeal, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed, finding that the Act, viewed in light of its underlying purpose and history, demonstrated that the Legislature intended it to apply to all governmental institutions and that there was no exclusion for prisons.

We have no further information on this matter.

Dan Dalton - 02/17/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Vermont Human Rights Commission
Plaintiff Description Department of Corrections for the State of Vermont
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 12/29/2006 (2006 Vt.LEXIS 363)
PC-VT-0002-0001.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Judges Burgess, Brian L. (State Supreme Court)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Dooley, John A. (State Supreme Court)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Johnson, Denise (State Supreme Court)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Reiber, Paul L. (State Supreme Court)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Skoglund, Marilyn (State Supreme Court)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Appel, Robert (Vermont)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Sorrell, William H. (Vermont)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Other Lawyers Boldosser, John IV (Vermont)
PC-VT-0002-0001
Prine, Barbara (Vermont)
PC-VT-0002-0001

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