University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Territory of Guam PC-GU-0001
Docket / Court CIV 91-00020 ( D. Guam )
State/Territory Guam
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On May 12, 1986, the United States Department of Justice notified the Governor of Guam that it intended to investigate the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) Inpatient United and the Adult Correctional Facility (ACF) under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ( ... read more >
On May 12, 1986, the United States Department of Justice notified the Governor of Guam that it intended to investigate the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) Inpatient United and the Adult Correctional Facility (ACF) under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. On August 11, 1987, the Department of Justice announced its findings, which stated that conditions at DMHRA, ACR, and Rosario Detention Facility (RDF) violated the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons. We do not know, however, what specific violations were found.

On February 13, 1991, the United States filed this CRIPA lawsuit against the Territory in the United States District Court for the Territory of Guam. The United States complained about fire safety, sanitation, and medical, dental, and mental health care in the facilities. On May 16, 1991, the parties entered a consent decree, with the District Court's (Judge Ronald S.W. Lew) approval. Under the terms of the consent decree, Guam admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to address fire safety and prevention, sanitation, medical care, dental care, and mental health care in their facilities.

To improve fire safety, Guam agreed to install sprinkler and smoke detection systems, egress doors, and remote-control locks in its facilities. In addition, the Territory agreed to replace polyurethane foam mattresses, pillows, and furniture with flame retardant materials. Guam also agreed to stop using facilities with wood and tin roofs and to repair electrical fire hazards.

To address sanitation problems, the Territory agreed to implement better food service and waste disposal practices. In addition, Guam agreed to take steps to address cockroach, rat, mouse, mosquito, and fly infestations. Guam agreed to improve ventilation and provide inmates with access to hot showers.

The consent decree also included provisions requiring routine and emergency medical, dental, and mental health care. The territory agreed to hire a full-time physician for ACT by November 18, 1991. The parties also agreed to appoint a monitor (J. Bradley Kleemm) to monitor compliance with the consent decree.

Guam's compliance with the consent decree was not satisfactory and, sometime between 1991 and 1998, the United States asked the court to find the defendants in contempt of the consent decree. On April 22, 1998, the court approved a stipulated order, under the terms of which Guam agreed to comply with the terms of the consent decree by December 31, 1998. In addition, Guam agreed to construct a new 80-bed prison unit, which would comply with the fire safety and ventilation requirements of the earlier consent decree. The Department of Justice agreed to dismiss the lawsuit if Guam was found to be in compliance with the consent decree on December 31, 1998. The docket lists this lawsuit as closed, so it is possible that Guam met the deadline for compliance.

Our docket is incomplete and we lack the pleadings and investigative findings in this lawsuit.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/22/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Bathing and hygiene
Fire safety
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Adult Correctional Facility, Dept. of Mental Health, Rosario Detention Facility
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
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 1991 - 1998
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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)
91-20 (D. Guam) 02/22/2006
PC-GU-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Settlement Agreement 05/29/1991
PC-GU-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Stipulated Order 04/22/1998 (D. Guam)
PC-GU-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (Ninth Circuit, D. Or.)
PC-GU-0001-0002
Lew, Ronald S. W. (C.D. Cal.)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Unpingco, John S. (D. Guam)
PC-GU-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Black, Frederick A. (Guam)
PC-GU-0001-9000
Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Hughes, Verlin (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0002
Moossy, Robert J. (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0002
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0001 | PC-GU-0001-0002
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Vernier, D. Paul Jr. (Guam)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Barrett-Anderson, Elizabeth (Guam)
PC-GU-0001-0001
Diaz, Gus F. (Guam)
PC-GU-0001-0002 | PC-GU-0001-9000
Rons, R. Happy (Guam)
PC-GU-0001-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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