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Case Name Mast v. Donahue PC-IN-0013
Docket / Court 2:05-cv-00037-LJM-WGH ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On February 3, 2005, inmates confined to the Secured Housing Unit ("SHU") at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU National Prison ... read more >
On February 3, 2005, inmates confined to the Secured Housing Unit ("SHU") at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU National Prison Project and the ACLU of Indiana, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the confinement of certain mentally ill prisoners there was unconstitutional.

On March 10, 2005, the District Court (Judge Larry J. McKinney) certified the case as a class action. The class was defined as all prisoners currently, and in the future, confined within the Secured Housing Unit at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility who were mentally ill.

Following two years of litigation and several court ordered settlement conferences, the parties reached a tentative settlement of the case in the form of a private settlement agreement. The agreement provided that it was inappropriate for the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to place seriously mentally ill prisoners into the SHU or into any correctional setting that features isolation and solitary confinement and the IDOC agreed to abandon that practice. The Agreement further called for the IDOC to provide appropriate mental health treatment for seriously mentally ill prisoners, in a setting and settings other than the SHU. Monitoring of IDOC's implementation of the agreement provision was set for a two year period.

The parties submitted the agreement to Judge McKinney for approval. Class notices were sent and the matter was set for an approval hearing on March 30, 2007 before Judge McKinney. On November 26, 2007, Judge McKinney approved the settlement and ordered the case stayed for two years, thereafter to be dismissed without prejudice.

On October 7, 2008, a mentally ill prisoner filed pro se a motion to hold the defendants in contempt of court for violating the settlement agreement and award of punitive damages for continuing to confine him in the SHU and then moving him to a facility that was similar to the SHU.

On December 31, 2009, Judge McKinney closed and dismissed the case with prejudice pursuant to the terms in the settlement agreement.

Kristen Sagar - 10/02/2008
Jessica Kincaid - 07/21/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Classification / placement
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Indiana Department of Corrections
Secured Housing Unit at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description All prisoners currently, and in the future, confined within the Secured Housing Unit at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility who were mentally ill.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2007 - 2009
Case Closing Year 2009
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)
2:05-cv-00037-LJM-WGH (S.D. Ind.) 06/10/2013
PC-IN-0013-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 02/03/2005
PC-IN-0013-0001 PDF | Detail
Private Settlement Agreement Between Defendants and Plaintiffs 01/01/2007 (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0013-0002 PDF | Detail
Order Certifying Case as Class Action 03/10/2007 (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0013-0003 PDF | Detail
ORDER FINDING PRIVATE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT TO BE FAIR 11/26/2007
PC-IN-0013-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion [For Order Holding Defendants In Contempt Of Court For Violating The Settlement Agreement And For Award Of Punitive Damages] 10/07/2008
PC-IN-0013-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Dismissing Case Without Prejudice 12/31/2009 (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0013-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hussmann, William G. Jr. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
PC-IN-0013-9000
McKinney, Larry J. (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0013-0003 | PC-IN-0013-0004 | PC-IN-0013-0006 | PC-IN-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0013-9000
Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)
PC-IN-0013-0001 | PC-IN-0013-0002 | PC-IN-0013-0003 | PC-IN-0013-9000
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0013-0001 | PC-IN-0013-0002 | PC-IN-0013-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Arthur, David A. (Indiana)
PC-IN-0013-0002 | PC-IN-0013-9000
Bramer, Richard M (Indiana)
PC-IN-0013-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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