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Case Name Gomez v. Vernon PC-ID-0003
Docket / Court 91-299 ( D. Idaho )
State/Territory Idaho
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
Inmates, represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, filed a class action lawsuit on June 21, 1991 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Idaho State Correctional Institution and the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. The suit, filed ... read more >
Inmates, represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, filed a class action lawsuit on June 21, 1991 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Idaho State Correctional Institution and the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. The suit, filed against prison officials, alleged retaliation for exercise of their rights to court access and an inadequate law library. The District Court (Judge Larry M. Boyle) held that the fact questions precluded summary judgment and that notice to prisoners of the action was not required. Gomez v. Vernon, 962 F. Supp. 1296 (D. Idaho 1997). The court, after a 19 day bench trial, found in favor of the inmates on March 22, 1999. Subsequently on July 16, 1999, the defendants submitted a proposed remedial plan pursuant to the court's Order of June 17, 1999. The plaintiffs filed their objections to this plan on July 27, 1999. The court declined to adopt either plan. In its amended judgment of August 17, 1999, the court granted a declaratory judgment that the inmates were subjected to instances of unlawful retaliation but denied class-wide prospective injunctive relief. The court granted individual injunctive relief to six specified inmates, to prevent the defendants from transferring or moving those inmates in retaliation for exercising their constitutional rights. After a post-trial hearing, the court awarded $4,500 in sanctions (for attorneys fees, costs and expenses) against the defendants for violating the defendants' attorney-client privileges in authorizing and encouraging prison employees to obtain confidential documents from the defendants.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge M. Margaret McKeown) affirmed, holding that: (1) officials had a policy of retaliating against inmates who exercised their rights to court access, (2) the District Court's order granting relief was appropriately tailored, and (3) imposition of sanctions was warranted. Gomez v. Vernon, 255 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2001). Administrative motions largely regarding attorneys fees continued until March 9, 2005.

David Terry - 04/25/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Law library access
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Idaho State Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Inmates at the the Idaho State Correctional Institution and the Idaho Maximum Security Institution
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
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 Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1999 - n/a
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)
91-0299 (D. Idaho) 03/09/2005
PC-ID-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Decision and Order 02/26/1997 (962 F.Supp. 1296) (D. Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judgment 03/22/1999 (D. Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Order 06/17/1999 (D. Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0002 PDF | Detail
Proposed Remedial Plan Relative to Inmates Wayne Nelson Olds, Lee Mazur Hays and Robert Richard Jones 07/16/1999
PC-ID-0003-0003 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs' Objections to Defendants' Proposed Remedial Plan 07/28/1999
PC-ID-0003-0004 PDF | Detail
Amended Judgment 08/17/1999 (D. Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0005 PDF | Detail
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Memorandum Decision and Order Relating to Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions 09/13/1999 (D. Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0006 PDF | Detail
Opinion 07/10/2001 (255 F.3d 1118)
PC-ID-0003-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Boyle, Larry M. (D. Idaho) [Magistrate]
PC-ID-0003-0001 | PC-ID-0003-0002 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-0008 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Gould, Ronald Murray (Ninth Circuit)
PC-ID-0003-0007
McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit)
PC-ID-0003-0007
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
PC-ID-0003-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balaban, Eric G. (District of Columbia)
PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Belodoff, Howard A. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0001 | PC-ID-0003-0002 | PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-0008 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Lee, Donna Hae Kyun (District of Columbia)
PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-9000
McDevitt, Charles F. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-9000
Pevar, Stephen L. (Colorado)
PC-ID-0003-0001 | PC-ID-0003-0002 | PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-0008 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Winter, Margaret (District of Columbia)
PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-0007 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Altig, Stephanie A. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0001 | PC-ID-0003-0002 | PC-ID-0003-0003 | PC-ID-0003-0004 | PC-ID-0003-0008 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Blackburn, Rex (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0002 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Lance, Alan G. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0003
McNeese, Timothy R. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0003
Panther, Paul R. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0003 | PC-ID-0003-0005 | PC-ID-0003-0006 | PC-ID-0003-9000
Wilson, Timothy D. (Idaho)
PC-ID-0003-0007
Other Lawyers None on record

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