University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cason v. Seckinger PC-GA-0001
Docket / Court 5:84-cv-00313-CWH ( M.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Case Summary
on July 13, 1984, inmates at the Middle Georgia Correctional Complex filed a class action lawsuit under 42 USC Sec. 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. A class was certified of all male and female inmates presently or in the future housed at the facility. The inmates, ... read more >
on July 13, 1984, inmates at the Middle Georgia Correctional Complex filed a class action lawsuit under 42 USC Sec. 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. A class was certified of all male and female inmates presently or in the future housed at the facility. The inmates, represented in part by Georgia Legal Services, sought injunctive relief to address an array of alleged unconstitutional conditions. Specifically, they cited sexual abuse and harassment of female inmates, inadequate classification systems, excessive force, violence and verbal abuse, stripping and restraints on mentally ill inmates, illegal stripping of inmates, inadequate staffing, poor structural and physical plant conditions, poor medical, dental and mental health service, deficient food service, inadequate access to the courts, unlawful visitation, mail and telephone practices, inadequate fire, occupational and health safety, insufficient vocational programs, lack of exercise and recreation, personal property regulations, racial and religious discrimination, inadequate disciplinary and grievance procedures, overcrowding, among other complaints. Several other cases were consolidated into this case, including Aziz et al v. Whitworth et al., No. 88-00291, and Spivey et al v. Dept. of Corrections, No. 91-00028. The case was resolved through a series of consent decrees designed to remedy the unconstitutional conditions. Fourteen consent decrees were entered beginning in 1990 and ending in 1996.

On November 12, 1998, prison officials filed a motion to vacate and terminate all remaining consent decrees given the enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which requires courts to terminate prospective relief upon defendants' motion under certain conditions. The district court (Judge Claude W. Hicks, Jr.) in 1999 partially granted the motion to terminate as it pertained to enforcement of the existing decree, and denied the inmates' motion to amend their compliant. On appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Edward Earl Carnes) vacated the district court's ruling as to termination of the decree, and ordered an evidentiary hearing, remanding the case back to the district court to more fully determine the provisions of the decree that were to be terminated. Cason v. Seckinger, 231 F.3d 777 (11th Cir. 2000). Following motions, on February 25, 2002, the district court (Judge Hicks) entered a final judgment terminating the case. A subsequent motion for contempt was denied in 2003, and a later claim for relief by a pro se class member was also denied and appeal rejected in 2004 due to a lack of filing fee.

Denise Lieberman - 10/23/2005

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Loss or damage to property
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Georgia Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description all male and female inmates presently or in the future housed at the Middle Georgia Correctional Complex
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1990 - 1996
Case Closing Year 2002
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 ]

84-313 (M.D. Ga.) 11/17/2004
PC-GA-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Reported Opinion 10/24/2000 (231 F.3d 777)
PC-GA-0001-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Barkett, Rosemary (Eleventh Circuit)
Carnes, Julie E. (Eleventh Circuit, N.D. Ga.)
Hicks, Claude W. Jr. (M.D. Ga.) [Magistrate]
Pollak, Louis Heilprin (E.D. Pa.)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burnette, Lisa Boardman (Maryland)
Cullen, Robert W. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0001-0001 | PC-GA-0001-9000
Gross, Laurel S. (Georgia)
Hess, Melinda Anne (Georgia)
Miller, Martha A. (Georgia)
Morin, Angela M. (Georgia)
Sokol, Howard G. (Georgia)
Worthington, Karen Lisa (Georgia)
Defendant's Lawyers Amideo, William F. (Georgia)
Baker, Thurbert E. (Georgia)
Basurto, Mark A. (Florida)
Chapman, Mirla Dianne (Georgia)
Childers, Neal B. (Georgia)
Cox-Brakefield, Cathy A. (Georgia)
Dennis, Zane E. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0001-9000 | PC-GA-0001-9000
Ferris-Smith, Stacey L. (Georgia)
Hewitts, William Davis (Georgia)
Hobbs, Michael E. (Georgia)
Jones, John Custer (Georgia)
PC-GA-0001-0001 | PC-GA-0001-9000
Manrow, Melissa Faye (Georgia)
Marmins, David Joel (Georgia)
McCullers, Robert D. (Georgia)
Robinson, Daryl Alan (Georgia)
Sullivan, Samuel H. (Georgia)
Tinkler, William P. Jr. (Georgia)
Zhang, Yongman (Georgia)
Other Lawyers Raubach, Robert J. (Georgia)
Spivey, Gerald Wendell (Georgia)

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