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Case Name Fiandaca v. Cunningham PC-NH-0006
Docket / Court 87-1199 ( D.N.H. )
State/Territory New Hampshire
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On June 30, 1983, female prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New Hampshire Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. The plaintiffs, represented by New Hampshire Legal Assistance ... read more >
On June 30, 1983, female prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New Hampshire Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. The plaintiffs, represented by New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the Disabilities Rights Center, challenged the state's failure to establish a facility for the incarceration of female inmates with programs and services equivalent to those provided to male inmates at the state prison as a violation of equal protection.

On January 13, 1987, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire (Judge Martin F. Loughlin) found that the state had violated the plaintiffs' right to equal protection of the law and ordered the construction of a permanent in-state facility for the plaintiffs no later than July 1, 1989. The court also ordered the state to provide a temporary facility for the plaintiffs until the new one was built, but prohibited the state from establishing this facility on the grounds of the Laconia State School and Training Center, which was the state's only institution for care and treatment of mentally retarded citizens.

The defendants appealed this decision, challenging the district court's refusal to disqualify New Hampshire Legal Assistance from representing the plaintiffs due to an unresolvable conflict of interest. They also asked the court to overturn the portion of the district court's opinion that barred the establishment of an interim facility at the Laconia State School and Training Center, arguing that this is prohibition is unsupported by facts or the record. On August 25, 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Judge Frank Coffin) held that New Hampshire Legal Assistance should have been disqualified by the district court due to conflict of interest and that a second class of state mental hospital residents were entitled to intervene after their facility was considered for use by the female prisoners. Fiandaca v. Cunningham, 827 F.2d 825 (1st Cir. 1987). The case was affirmed in part, vacated and remanded in part.

Kristen Sagar - 08/06/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Rehabilitation
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New Hampshire Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description female prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison
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 1986 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
83-400 (D.N.H.) 11/17/2003
PC-NH-0006-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Reported Opinion 08/25/1987 (827 F.2d 825)
PC-NH-0006-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Coffin, Frank Morey (First Circuit)
PC-NH-0006-0001
Loughlin, Martin Francis (D.N.H.)
PC-NH-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Astles, Bertram D. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-0001
Boots, Robin (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-9000
Isaac, Andrew L. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-9000
Macintosh, John D. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-0001
Smith, Diane M. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Judge, Stephen J. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-9000
Merrill, Stephen E. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-0001
Rodgers, Ronald F. (New Hampshire)
PC-NH-0006-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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