University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Jordan v. Fitzharris PC-CA-0008
Docket / Court No. 44786 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Case Summary
In approximately 1966, an inmate at the California Correctional Training Facility at Soledad filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff, who initially brought the ... read more >
In approximately 1966, an inmate at the California Correctional Training Facility at Soledad filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff, who initially brought the proceeding on his own behalf and then was represented by court-appointed private counsel, asked the court for injunctive and monetary relief, alleging that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that his confinement for twelve days in a "strip cell," one which was approximately six by eight feet in size, had no furnishings except a toilet, no interior source of light, was not cleaned regularly, and had no means for the prisoner to clean himself, violated his Eighth Amendment rights.

After a hearing, the court (Judge George B. Harris) issued an opinion on September 6, 1966, enjoining the defendants from denying inmates the basic elements necessary to maintain a level of cleanliness in accord with civilized standards. Jordan v. Fitzharris, 257 F. Supp. 674 (N.D. Cal. 1966). The court denied the plaintiff's request for money damages. It also noted that this case represented one of the first such actions in the U.S. District courts.

Laura Uberti - 06/11/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Bathing and hygiene
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoner claiming to have been unconstitutionally subjected to cruel and unusual punishment
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
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 1966 - n/a
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/06/1966 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0008-0002 PDF | Detail
Reported Opinion 09/06/1966 (257 F.Supp. 674) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0008-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Harris, George Bernard (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0008-0002 | PC-CA-0008-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cohler, Charles B. (California)
PC-CA-0008-0002 | PC-CA-0008-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Granucci, Robert R. (California)
PC-CA-0008-0002 | PC-CA-0008-0003
Lynch, Thomas C. (California)
PC-CA-0008-0002 | PC-CA-0008-0003
Oakes, John (California)
PC-CA-0008-0002 | PC-CA-0008-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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