University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Kozlowski v. Coughlin PC-NY-0034
Docket / Court 81-5886 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On September 22, 1981, New York state inmates filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by Prisoners Legal Services of New York, asked the ... read more >
On September 22, 1981, New York state inmates filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the New York State Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by Prisoners Legal Services of New York, asked the District Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the visitation procedures at the state prisons.

On March 22, 1982, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Charles E. Stewart, Jr.) granted declaratory and injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, holding that the prisoners had a constitutionally protected liberty interest in receiving the visitors of their choice. Kozlowski v. Coughlin, 539 F.Supp. 852 (S.D.N.Y. 1982).

In May, 1983, the parties entered into a Consent Decree, which provided for new procedural rules for the prison system's revocation or suspension of visitation privileges. In 1988, the defendants asked the District Court to modify the Consent Decree. On September 23, 1988, the District Court (Judge Stewart) denied most of the modification requests, and the defendants appealed. On March 17, 1989, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Judge Irving Robert Kaufman) affirmed. On April 5, 1989, the District Court (Judge Stewart) entered an amended opinion, detailing which modifications of the Consent Decree would be allowed. The modifications allowed for the accumulation of different acts of misconduct involving the same visitor and increased the visitation suspensions for drug-related offenses. Kozlowski v. Coughlin, 711 F.Supp. 83 (S.D.N.Y. 1983).

In 2001, the defendants asked the District Court to terminate the Consent Decree pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §3626. On November 26, 2001, the District Court (Judge Lawrence M. McKenna) granted the defendants' request and terminated the Decree. Kozlowski v. Coughlin, No. 81-5886, 81-2355, 2001 WL 1506010 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 26, 2001). According to the PACER docket (accurate as of 9/16/2005), Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. There was no further activity noted on the docket, so it is unclear whether the appeal was dismissed.

Kristen Sagar - 11/10/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Visiting
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York State Dept. of Correctional Services
Plaintiff Description Prisoners in New York State Prisons
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - 2001
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)
81-5886 (S.D.N.Y.) 01/07/2002
PC-NY-0034-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Decision 03/22/1982 (539 F.Supp. 852) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 03/17/1989 (871 F.2d 241)
PC-NY-0034-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 04/05/1989 (711 F.Supp. 83) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion and Order 11/09/1993 (1993 WL 464687 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15892) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 11/26/2001 (2001 WL 1506010 / 2001 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 19294) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Reported Opinion 01/14/2003 (755 N.Y.S.2d 221)
PC-NY-0034-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Kaufman, Irving Robert (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0003
Marin, Alan C. Court not on record
PC-NY-0034-0007
McKenna, Lawrence M. (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0006 | PC-NY-0034-9000
Sotomayor, Sonia (SCOTUS, Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0005
Stewart, Charles E. Jr. (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0034-0001 | PC-NY-0034-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benson, James D. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-9000
Gombiner, Robert (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0001 | PC-NY-0034-9000
Landau, Joel (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0007
Leven, David C. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0002 | PC-NY-0034-0003 | PC-NY-0034-9000
Posner, David L. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0001 | PC-NY-0034-0002 | PC-NY-0034-0003
Posner, Joan (New York)
PC-NY-0034-9000
Selcov, Robert (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0002 | PC-NY-0034-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Abrams, Robert W. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0002 | PC-NY-0034-0003 | PC-NY-0034-9000
Becker, Joann M. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0002 | PC-NY-0034-0003
Howard, Richard M. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0001
Shoemaker, James E. (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0007
Spitzer, Eliot (New York)
PC-NY-0034-0007
Other Lawyers None on record

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