Four inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa filed a lawsuit on July 27, 2001 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, challenging a policy that banned prisoners' communications with other prisoners who served as jail-house ...
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Four inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa filed a lawsuit on July 27, 2001 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, challenging a policy that banned prisoners' communications with other prisoners who served as jail-house lawyers. Plaintiffs alleged that this policy violated their First Amendment right to freedom of expression and their Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from retaliation. Plaintiffs sought damages, injunctive relief, and fees. In September 2001, the case was consolidated with Overton v. Galloway, PC-IA-xxx, a case filed in April 2001 addressing similar concerns. The District Court (Judge Charles R. Wolle) issued a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the policy.
The officials appealed the preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge James B. Loken) affirmed the preliminary injunction. Bear v. Kautzky, 305 F.3d 802 (8th Cir. 2002).
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in Overton on October 8, 2003, dismissing all remaining claims in Overton. Once closed, the district court severed Overton from Bear.
The Bear litigation continued at the district court. The court appointed United States Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer for review of the record, evidentiary hearings, oral arguments, and recommendations regarding the disposition of the case to Judge James E. Gritzner. Defendants filed for Summary Judgment, and the court granted the motion against Plaintiff Bear on June 20, 2005. With Bear terminated from the case, plaintiff Stringer became the named plaintiff. On January 25, 2006, the court granted summary judgments against Plaintiffs Stringer and McBride, dismissing the case without prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), since they had not filed a formalized grievance to the Iowa State Penitentiary.David Terry - 02/27/2006