University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Brown v. Mckernan PC-ME-0001
Docket / Court 90-246-P ( D. Me. )
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On October 15, 1990, inmates confined in the protective custody units of the Maine State Prison in Thomaston, Maine, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Maine Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. The plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On October 15, 1990, inmates confined in the protective custody units of the Maine State Prison in Thomaston, Maine, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Maine Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. The plaintiffs, represented by the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU National Prison Project, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by overcrowding, double celling, poor ventilation, inadequate recreation, broken plumbing, lack of mental health care, fire safety violations, lack of medical care, lack of personal safety, deafening noise, lack of sanitation, insects, and lack of access to legal supplies.

According to our docket, which is accurate as of July 21, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine (Judge Gene Carter) closed this case on July 31, 1991, though the reason is unavailable. Later docket entries refer to a class settlement, which is unavailable to the Clearinghouse. Plaintiffs moved to reopen the case on January 22, 1996, and Defendants reported that the prison was taking steps to remedy the situation complained of. The Court denied the motion to reopen the case, finding that the recent complaints were outside the scope of the class settlement. We have no further information on the proceedings, and the case remains closed as of July 12, 2013.

Kristen Sagar - 09/06/2006
Kenneth Gray - 07/11/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Personal injury
Protective custody
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Untreated pain
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Maine State Prison
Plaintiff Description inmates confined in the protective custody units of the Maine State Prison
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 Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1991
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)
2:90-CV-00246-GC (D. Me.) 07/21/2005
PC-ME-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 10/12/1990
PC-ME-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges Carter, Gene (D. Me.)
PC-ME-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)
PC-ME-0001-0001
Lopez, Mark J. (District of Columbia)
PC-ME-0001-0001
Tisdale, Stuart W. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PC-ME-0001-0001 | PC-ME-0001-9000
Webber, Curtis (Maine)
PC-ME-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Sleek, Diane (Maine)
PC-ME-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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