University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Smith & Rudd v. Norris PC-AR-0006
Docket / Court 5:93-cv-00731-GTE ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
This lawsuit was the result of a stabbing incident at the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. An inmate stabbed two other inmates with a hobby knife. Ernest Smith was injured in the attack and John Stewart died as a result. Smith filed a lawsuit on December 6, 1993 in the ... read more >
This lawsuit was the result of a stabbing incident at the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. An inmate stabbed two other inmates with a hobby knife. Ernest Smith was injured in the attack and John Stewart died as a result. Smith filed a lawsuit on December 6, 1993 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against the Arkansas Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages for his injuries. He claimed that the prison conditions at the time, including officials' failure to protect him, violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment in the form of an attack from a fellow inmate. Smith also sought injunctive relief to remedy the current conditions of confinement. Stewart's estate also filed a lawsuit on December 6, 1993, making the same claims. The district court determined that Smith lacked standing to seek injunctive relief concerning the current prison conditions because he had been transferred from the facility but allowed him to add a co-plaintiff, Jimmy Rudd.

In Smith's case, on February 23, 1995, the court (Judge G. Thomas Eisele) granted Rudd's request for declaratory relief, requiring defendants to station two correctional officers inside the open barracks and to document and record all entries and exits of prison personnel into or out of the open barracks. Smith v. Norris, 877 F.Supp. 1296 (E.D. Ark. 1995). The court also determined that defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity regarding Smith's claims for damages and granted Smith partial summary judgment regarding his injuries. The court did not grant injunctive relief regarding the prison's policy of allowing inmates to possess dangerous tools because the prison had already changed the policy. On February 27, 1995, Judge Eisele denied defendants' motion to stay the judgment pending their appeal.

In the Stewart case, the court determined that the issues were exactly the same as in the Smith/Rudd case. An order by Judge Henry Woods on December 19, 1996 consolidated the two cases.

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge David Hansen) affirmed the grant of injunctive relief to Rudd. Smith v. Arkansas Dept. of Correction, 103 F.3d 637 (8th Cir. 1996). The Court of Appeals found that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Smith because there were disputed facts regarding whether the prison was complying with safety standards set by a previous case. (Finney v. Mabry, 546 F.Supp. 628 (E.D. Ark. 1982). (PC-AR-003) The court affirmed the denial of qualified immunity in both cases and reversed the grant of summary judgment. The case was remanded for a trial on the merits. The parties entered into a settlement and on July 28, 1997, Judge Eisele dismissed the case.

Angela Heverling - 03/20/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Personal injury
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Arkansas Department of Corrections (Cummins Unit)
Plaintiff Description A prison inmate alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement in prison and another inmate alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement because he was stabbed by another inmate
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 1997 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1997
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)
93-731 (E.D. Ark.) 07/28/1997
PC-AR-0006-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
93-732 (E.D. Ark.) 07/28/1997
PC-AR-0006-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion 02/23/1995 (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0001 PDF | Detail
Declaratory Judgment & Injunction 02/23/1995 (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0002 PDF | Detail
Partial Summary Judgment 02/23/1995 (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0003 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 02/23/1995 (877 F.Supp. 1296) (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 02/27/1995 (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0004 PDF | Detail
Reported Opinion 12/18/1996 (103 F.3d 637)
PC-AR-0006-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Eisele, Garnett Thomas (E.D. Ark.)
PC-AR-0006-0001 | PC-AR-0006-0002 | PC-AR-0006-0003 | PC-AR-0006-0004 | PC-AR-0006-0005 | PC-AR-0006-9000 | PC-AR-0006-9001
Hansen, David Rasmussen (Eighth Circuit, N.D. Iowa)
PC-AR-0006-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crisp, Hugh E. (Arkansas)
PC-AR-0006-0005 | PC-AR-0006-0006 | PC-AR-0006-9000 | PC-AR-0006-9001
James, Paul Joseph (Arkansas)
PC-AR-0006-0005 | PC-AR-0006-0006 | PC-AR-0006-9000 | PC-AR-0006-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Eberhard, David B. (Arkansas)
PC-AR-0006-0006 | PC-AR-0006-9000 | PC-AR-0006-9001
Wilson, Kyle R. (Arkansas)
PC-AR-0006-0005 | PC-AR-0006-0006 | PC-AR-0006-9000 | PC-AR-0006-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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