University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Dilley v. Gunn PC-CA-0021
Docket / Court 92-1305 ( S.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In August, 1992, an inmate at Calipatria State Prison filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiff, at first represented by himself and later by private counsel, asked the court for ... read more >
In August, 1992, an inmate at Calipatria State Prison filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiff, at first represented by himself and later by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, alleging that the defendants had violated his First and Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that the defendants violated his right of access to the courts by failing to provide reasonable access to the prison law library and that the conditions of confinement violated the Eighth Amendment.

On March 29, 1993, the District Court (Judge Judith N. Keep) granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment with respect to the law library claim, denied summary judgment for all other claims, and ordered the defendants to improve inmate access to the law library. Judge Keep held that the defendants did not provide constitutionally adequate access to the law library and appointed Magistrate Judge Barry T. Moskowitz as Special Master to recommend to the District Court a plan to improve library access.

On May 11, 1993, the District Court (Judge Keep) denied the plaintiff's application for an order to show cause--an application which requested that the Court order the defendants to provide a constitutionally adequate prison library--construing it to be one for a preliminary injunction.

On June 7, 1993, the District Court (Judge Keep) granted several defendants' motions for summary judgment on the issue of damages with respect to the library access claim, as well as one defendant's motion for summary judgment on the claim that the plaintiff was denied food in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The plaintiff appealed.

In a September 1993 report, the Magistrate Court (Judge Moskowitz) recommended expanding the library's size, allowing inmates to have access to the stacks and to check out more books at a time, implementing a training program for inmate law clerks, and increasing inmate visits to the library. In addition, Judge Moskowitz recommended holding a compliance hearing to take place after six months.

On December 15, 2003, the District Court (Judge Keep) accepted Judge Moskowitz's plan. The defendants appealed.

On March 30, 1994, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Betty B. Fletcher, Melvin T. Brunetti, and Stephen S. Trott) affirmed the in part and dismissed in part the District Court's June 7, 1993, decision. Dilley v. Gunn, 21 F.3d 1112 (9th Cir. 1994). The Court affirmed the District Court's denial of the plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction and held that the District Court orders of March 29, 1993, and June 7, 1993, were not final judgments and therefore not appealable.

On September 8, 1995, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Betty B. Fletcher, Charles E. Wiggins, and Ferdinand F. Fernandez) remanded the case with respect to the District Court's December 15, 1994, decision. Dilley v. Gunn, 64 F.3d 1365 (9th Cir. 1995). Judge Fletcher held that the appeal was moot because the plaintiff was no longer incarcerated at Calipatria, and remanded the case to determine whether the order granting injunctive relief should be vacated. In a concurring opinion, Judge Fernandez expressed doubt that the injunction could remain in effect after the matter had become moot.

On December 15, 1995, the District Court (Judge Keep) vacated the December 7, 1993, adoption of the Special Master's Report as well as the April 21, 1993, appointment of counsel. Judge Keep dismissed the case.

Josh Altman - 06/01/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Disciplinary procedures
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Calipatria State Prison
Plaintiff Description Inmate alleging violation of his right of access to courts by failing to provide reasonable access to prison's law library
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1992 - 1995
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)
92-1305 (S.D. Cal.) 03/13/1996
PC-CA-0021-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum 03/30/1994 (21 F.3d 1112)
PC-CA-0021-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Reported Opinion 09/08/1995 (64 F.3d 1365)
PC-CA-0021-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Brunetti, Melvin T. (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0021-0002
Fletcher, Betty Binns (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0021-0001 | PC-CA-0021-0002
Keep, Judith Nelsen (S.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0021-9000
Moskowitz, Barry Ted (S.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0021-9000
Trott, Stephen S. (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0021-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Taylor, Timothy B. (California)
PC-CA-0021-0001 | PC-CA-0021-9000
Vogel, Karin Dougan (California)
PC-CA-0021-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Foote, Timothy C. (California)
PC-CA-0021-0001
Lepkowsky, Darrell Lee (California)
PC-CA-0021-9000
Lungren, Daniel E. (California)
PC-CA-0021-9000
Shaw, Robert B. (California)
PC-CA-0021-9000
Williamson, George H. (California)
PC-CA-0021-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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