University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Rust v. Gunter PC-NE-0003
Docket / Court 4:84-cv-00712 ( D. Neb. )
State/Territory Nebraska
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1984, death row inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, represented by private counsel, filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the District of Nebraska against officials of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Plaintiffs complained of inadequate access to the law library, ... read more >
In 1984, death row inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, represented by private counsel, filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the District of Nebraska against officials of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Plaintiffs complained of inadequate access to the law library, legal services, exercise, and visitation rights.

The case went to trial in July 1986, but settled prior to the conclusion of the trial. The District Court (Judge Warren K. Urbom) entered the consent decree in August 1986. The consent decree required that defendants provide death row inmates access to the law library, legal materials and services, telephone use, exercise, and visitation. Finally, the consent decree included an agreed amount for the attorney fees and costs.

(This is not the same litigation as the one with the same caption, in which the Supreme Court granted certiorari, Rust v. Gunter, 494 U.S. 1055 (1990), and appointed Al Bronstein of the National Prison Project Supreme Court counsel, Rust v. Gunter, 494 U.S. 1077 (1990), but later vacated and remanded for further consideration "in light of the representations made by counsel for petitioner appointed by the Court in his motion to withdraw as counsel on May 22, 1990, the response to that motion filed by respondent May 30, 1990, and petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel filed June 4, 1990. Rust v. Gunter, 496 U.S. 914 (1990).)

Eoghan Keenan - 07/15/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Visiting
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Nebraska State Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description death row inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1986 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
4:84-cv-712 (D. Neb.) 02/11/2013
PC-NE-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Consent Decree 08/01/1986 (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum and Order on Pending Motions 12/06/2010 (2010 WL 5093306) (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order on Status of Case 02/01/2011 (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order on Defendant's Motion to Terminate the Consent Decree 05/02/2012 (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 05/02/2012 (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/21/2012 (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/11/2013 (2013 WL 508304) (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Smith Camp, Laurie (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0007 | PC-NE-0003-0008
Urbom, Warren Keith (D. Neb.)
PC-NE-0003-0001 | PC-NE-0003-0003 | PC-NE-0003-0004 | PC-NE-0003-0005 | PC-NE-0003-0006 | PC-NE-0003-9000
Zwart, Cheryl R (D. Neb.) [Magistrate]
PC-NE-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Covalt, Victor E III (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Wilson, Michael J (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bruning, Jon (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Spire, Robert M (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Willard, Linda (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Other Lawyers Allred, Amber (Florida)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Enenbach, Matthew M (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000
Warin, Edward G. (Nebraska)
PC-NE-0003-9000

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