University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Higgins v. Coombe PC-NY-0033
Docket / Court 1:94-cv-07942-MGC-NG ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On November 3, 1994, an inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections and representatives of Greenhaven Correctional Facility (including the prison doctor) in the U.S. District Court ... read more >
On November 3, 1994, an inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections and representatives of Greenhaven Correctional Facility (including the prison doctor) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff, who had been incarcerated at Greenhaven, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated by denial of access to the courts, inadequate medical care following a 1994 injury on the handball court at Greenhaven, failure to repair the prison's handball court, inadequate supply of clean clothing, lack of sanitation, infestation with mice, deprivation of pain medication, inadequate heating, and failure to supply him with headphones.

On September 4, 1996, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Miriam G. Cedarbaum) granted summary judgment to the defendants on all issues except access to courts, which was not addressed in their arguments. Higgins v. Coombe, No. 94-7942, 1996 WL 502409 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 4, 1996).

The plaintiff then asked the court for further injunctive relief, complaining that the defendants retaliated against him for filing his compliant. On June 16, 1997, the district court (Judge Sonia Sotomayor) partially dismissed the complaint, allowing the plaintiff to proceed on his claims that the defendants lost his legal documents and filed a false misbehavior report on him. Higgins v. Coombe, No. 95-8696, 1997 WL 328623 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 1997).

On March 13, 1998, the district court (Judge Cedarbaum) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the access to courts claim, due to failure to prosecute on the part of the plaintiff. Higgins v. Coombe, No. 94-7492, 1998 WL 113955 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 13, 1998). The court then closed the case.

Kristen Sagar - 10/31/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Personal injury
Recreation / Exercise
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Green Haven Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description State prisoner claiming that defendants deprived him of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments including his right to access to the courts
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1996 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1998
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)
94-7942 (S.D.N.Y.) 03/16/1998
PC-NY-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/04/1996 (1996 WL 502409 / 1996 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12856) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion and Order 06/16/1997 (1997 WL 328623) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 03/13/1998 (1998 WL 113955 / 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 3039) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 09/27/1999 (1999 WL 760658) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum and Order 03/15/2001 (2001 WL 262930) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum and Order 03/06/2002 (2002 WL 362776) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum & Order 09/11/2003 (2003 WL 22110438) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Batts, Deborah A. (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0006
Casey, Richard Conway (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0004 | PC-NY-0033-0005 | PC-NY-0033-0007
Cedarbaum, Miriam Goldman (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0001 | PC-NY-0033-0002 | PC-NY-0033-9000
Sotomayor, Sonia (SCOTUS, Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0033-0003
Monitors/Masters Gershon, Nina (New York)
PC-NY-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Bacigalupi, Robert F. (New York)
PC-NY-0033-0001 | PC-NY-0033-9000
Cardinale, Richard J. (New York)
PC-NY-0033-0002
Vacco, Dennis C. (New York)
PC-NY-0033-0001 | PC-NY-0033-0002 | PC-NY-0033-0003
Other Lawyers Quaranta, Christopher A (New York)
PC-NY-0033-0003

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