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Case Name Lovell v. Brennan PC-ME-0002
Docket / Court 2:79-cv-00076-ETG ( D. Me. )
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, ... read more >
Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, was consolidated with two other cases, Maine State Prison et al v. Mental Health & Corr., No. 79-8, brought on behalf of all inmates in protective custody and Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, No. 78-90, PC-ME-004, brought on behalf of all MSP inmates who had been or might be confined in administrative segregation

On June 22, 1983, Judge Edward Gignoux issued an opinion and order in the three cases, finding the claims related to administrative segregation meritorious, but rejecting the other challenges. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp. 672 (D.Me. 1983), which was affirmed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Lovell v. Brennan, 728 F.2d 560 (1st Cir. 1984).

While finding that overall conditions of confinement did not violate inmates' rights, in his ruling, Judge Gignoux concluded that the procedures for assigning inmates to administrative segregation violated the terms of the 1973 consent decree and that the prison's use of restraint cells was ""so inhumane"" that it violated the 8th and 14th Amendments (the small, windowless cells had no internal lighting or heat and were completely barren, except for a hole in the floor which served as a toilet, which could not be flushed from inside the cell). The court issued an order barring further violations in those areas. The Court, dismissing the remaining claims, found that the other conditions of confinement the inmates complained of had improved substantially since the filing of the lawsuit and did not currently violate the constitution or the consent decree. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp at 677. The court noted, however, that the prison conditions improved only because of the lawsuit and only to the minimum extent required by law. Subsequently, attorneys sought fees. Judge Gignoux concluded that because the plaintiffs had succeeded on the major claims of their case, that they were considered ""prevailing parties"" and should be awarded attorneys fees. Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, 590 F.Supp. 979 (D.Me. 1984).

The docket sheet indicates that a full docket and proceedings for the cases are not available on PACER.

Denise Lieberman - 10/23/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Administrative segregation
Restraints : physical
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Maine State Prison
Plaintiff Description inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1983 - 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)
2:79-cv-00076-ETG (D. Me.) 06/22/1983
PC-ME-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion and Order of the Court 06/22/1983 (566 F.Supp. 672) (D. Me.)
PC-ME-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 02/29/1984 (728 F.2d 560)
PC-ME-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Bownes, Hugh Henry (D.N.H., First Circuit)
PC-ME-0002-0001
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
PC-ME-0002-0001
Coffin, Frank Morey (First Circuit)
PC-ME-0002-0001
Gignoux, Edward Thaxter (D. Me.)
PC-ME-0002-0002 | PC-ME-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)
PC-ME-0002-0001
Davidson, R. James (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0002
Geores, Martha E. (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0001 | PC-ME-0002-0002
Klein, Edward (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0002
Thibeault, Paul G. (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0002
Woodruff, Neville (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Laubenstein, William H. III (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0001 | PC-ME-0002-0002
Ogilvie, Gail (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0001 | PC-ME-0002-0002
Tierney, James E. (Maine)
PC-ME-0002-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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