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Case Name Watson v. Ray PC-IA-0006
Docket / Court 78-CV-106 ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Present and future general prison population inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa, filed a class action lawsuit on April 17, 1978 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, alleging that the totality of conditions of confinement ... read more >
Present and future general prison population inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa, filed a class action lawsuit on April 17, 1978 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, alleging that the totality of conditions of confinement violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs were represented by legal interns at the University of Iowa College of Law Legal Clinic. Americans United for Separation of Church and State represented one of the plaintiff class representatives. After a three-week trial, the District Court (Judge William C. Stuart) found that a proposed settlement would rectify the unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Watson v. Ray, 90 F.R.D. 143 (S.D.Iowa 1981). The decree required annual monitoring of the Iowa State Penitentiary.

Upon the enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), the defendants moved to terminate the consent decree on May 10, 1996. The District Court (Judge Charles R. Wolle) denied this motion on February 10, 1997. Watson v. Ray, No. 4-78-CV-80106, 1997 WL 675579 (S.D.Iowa Feb. 10, 1997). However, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed his decision in light of Gavin v. Branstad, 122 F.3d 1081 (8th Cir. 1997). On remand, the District Court on August 10, 1998 terminated the decree, concluding that the PLRA was constitutional. On appeal and on September 29, 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge John F. Nangle, sitting by designation) affirmed the termination of the consent decree. Watson v. Ray, 192 F.3d 1153 (8th Cir. 1999). This decision terminated the case.

David Terry - 04/25/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Iowa State Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description Present and future general prison population inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa
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 1981 - 1999
Case Closing Year 1999
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)
78-CV-80106 (S.D. Iowa) 11/12/1999
PC-IA-0006-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 04/29/1981 (90 F.R.D. 143) (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 02/10/1997 (1997 WL 675579) (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 02/13/1998 (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0003 PDF | Detail
Reported Opinion 09/29/1999 (192 F.3d 1153)
PC-IA-0006-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Arnold, Morris Sheppard (Eighth Circuit, W.D. Ark.)
PC-IA-0006-0004
McMillian, Theodore (Eighth Circuit)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Nangle, John Francis (E.D. Mo.)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Stuart, William Corwin (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0005
Wolle, Charles Robert (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0002 | PC-IA-0006-0003 | PC-IA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Khan, Ayesha N. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-9000
Mears, Philip B. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-9000
O'Connor, Timothy R. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Rosenberg, Paul H. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0005
Sierra, Gretchen T. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Whiston, John B. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004 | PC-IA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Gordon E. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004 | PC-IA-0006-9000
Black, John G. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0005 | PC-IA-0006-0005
Garvey, Vincent M. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-9000
Hagen, Christopher D. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-9000
Kelinson, Craig A. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Lindebak, Layne M. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-9000
McDonald, Bruce C. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0005 | PC-IA-0006-0005
Miller, Thomas J. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0006-0004 | PC-IA-0006-0005 | PC-IA-0006-0005
Other Lawyers Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Hoyle, John C. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-0004
Littlefield, Patricia Gail (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-0005
Nickerson, Don Carlos (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0006-0004

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