University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mason v. Granholm PC-MI-0020
Docket / Court 5:05-cv-73943-JCO-DAS ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On October 13, 2005, current and former female prisoners filed a class-action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

Plaintiffs were originally ... read more >
On October 13, 2005, current and former female prisoners filed a class-action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

Plaintiffs were originally members of a certified class-action suit pending in Michigan state court, Neal v. MDOC, LC No. 96-006986-CZ. [See PC-MI-0021 of this collection for a summary of the Neal case]. The Neal plaintiffs alleged violations of their state civil rights under the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act ("ELCRA") for sexual abuse, discrimination and other gender-based degrading treatment by MDOC staff.

During the Neal litigation, an amendment to ELCRA was passed that excluded prisoners from the Act's protection against discrimination. M.C.L. §37.2102(1). On February 10, 2005, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the claims of the Neal plaintiffs that arose after the effective date of the ELCRA amendment were no longer viable, as the amendment excluded prisoner claims from the Act's protection. Plaintiffs filed this action to challenge the constitutionality of the ELCRA amendment and to reassert their claims, now under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, monetary damages and class certification.

Following the filing of a first amended complaint, defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for a more definite statement. The District Court (John Corbett O'Meara) denied those motions on May 15, 2006. On July 14, 2006, plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment, on the issue of the constitutionality of the ELCRA amendment. Defendants countered by filing a cross-motion for summary judgment. On January 23, 2007, the District Court granted plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, holding that the ELCRA amendment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment was denied. Mason v. Granholm, 2007 WL 201008. The Court denied a stay pending appeal, 2007 WL 734990 (Mar. 07, 2007).

The Defendants filed a notice of appeal, however, on July 26, 2007 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dismissed the appeal, because the District Court had only granted partial, and not total, summary judgment.

On August 31, 2007, the District Court denied class certification, holding that both liability and damages were too individuated to be appropriate for class resolution. 2007 WL 2541769. The same day, the Court also granted two individual Defendants' motions for summary judgment, and dismissed them from the case, one because no named plaintiff had been housed at the facility he worked for, and another on statute of limitations grounds. 2007 WL 2541431. (The Court denied reconsideration two months later, 2007 WL 3121570 (Oct. 23, 2007).) On June 20, 2008, the court dismissed several other Defendants because the claims against them were barred by the statute of limitations. 2008 WL 2513904. In a similar ruling on September 25, 2008, the Court dismissed several plaintiffs for the same reason. 2008 WL 4387940.

On Defendants' motion, the Plaintiffs's claims under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Punishment (CAT), were both dismissed on August 12, 2008: the District Court held that since neither was self-executing, and no implementing statute had been enacted, neither was "binding on this court." 2008 WL 3538981.

The case was set for trial in early 2009, but then that date was shifted to October 2009. Before that trial could be held, the matter settled. The settlement was entered in Neal v. Mich. Department of Corrections--it was for $100 million. In this case, on September 28, 2009, the parties agreed that the District Court's January 23, 2007 Opinion and Order declaring the amendment to ELCRA unconstitutional would be the final declaratory judgment, and that the parties would bear their own costs.

Joshua Arocho - 07/16/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Michigan Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All current and future female prisoners subjected to discrimination, sexual abuse or degrading treatment by male prison staff at MDOC.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-MI-0021 : Neal v. Michigan Department of Corrections (State Court)
PC-MI-0017 : Nunn v. Michigan Department of Corrections (E.D. Mich.)
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)
5:05-cv-73943-JCO-DAS (E.D. Mich.) 09/28/2009
PC-MI-0020-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/13/2005
PC-MI-0020-0001 PDF | Detail
First Amended Complaint 10/20/2005
PC-MI-0020-0002 PDF | Detail
Order Denying Defendants Granholm, Caruso, Zang, Stovall, Davis, Yukins, Desantis, Howell, Talley, Tollzein, Madden and Langley’s Rule 12(B)(6) Motions For Dismissal 05/15/2006 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Denying Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment 01/23/2007 (2007 WL 201008) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0004 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying State Defendant's Motion for Stay 03/07/2007 (2007 WL 734990) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 07/23/2007 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendant Howell and Defendant Langley's Motions for Summary Judgment 08/31/2007 (2007 WL 2541431) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 08/31/2007 (2007 WL 2541769) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0009 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration 10/23/2007 (2007 WL 3121570) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0010 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint 11/20/2007
PC-MI-0020-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment 06/20/2008 (2008 WL 2513904) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendant Howell and Langley's Motions to Tax Costs 07/02/2008 (2008 WL 2695915) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0013 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion For Summary Judgment 08/12/2008 (2008 WL 3538981) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 09/25/2008 (2008 WL 4387940) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order Regarding Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Injunctive Relief Claims Without Prejudice 01/08/2009 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration 03/05/2009 (2009 WL 579377) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0017 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Staying Proceedings Pending Settlement 07/30/2009 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0018 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation, Declaratory Judgment and Order Dismissing Remaining Claims 09/28/2009 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0019 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges O'Meara, John Corbett (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0004 | PC-MI-0020-0006 | PC-MI-0020-0008 | PC-MI-0020-0009 | PC-MI-0020-0010 | PC-MI-0020-0012 | PC-MI-0020-0013 | PC-MI-0020-0014 | PC-MI-0020-0015 | PC-MI-0020-0016 | PC-MI-0020-0017 | PC-MI-0020-0018 | PC-MI-0020-0019 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Scheer, Donald A. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
PC-MI-0020-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers James, Dennis D. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Labelle, Deborah A. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-0018 | PC-MI-0020-0019 | PC-MI-0020-9000
McGehee, Cary S. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Pitt, Peggy Goldberg (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011
Pitt, Michael L. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Reno, Molly H. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Reosti, Ronald J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Sirlin, Ralph J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Sobel, Richard A. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-0016
Streeter, Patricia A. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0001 | PC-MI-0020-0002 | PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0011 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkman, Cori E. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-9000
Colbeck, J. Richard (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-9000
Jack, Dawn C.M. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-9000
Kotwicki, David A. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Smith, Diane M. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Stearns, Robert R. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Thurber, John L. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-0003 | PC-MI-0020-0016 | PC-MI-0020-0018 | PC-MI-0020-0019 | PC-MI-0020-9000
Other Lawyers Anderson, Bryan J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-9000
Turner, Brenda E. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0020-9000

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