University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Blissett v. Coughlin PC-NY-0046
Docket / Court 84-779 ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Donovan Blissett, a prisoner at Attica Correctional Facility in New York, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York against the New York Department of Corrections on June 6, 1984, alleging a violation of his due process rights following an ... read more >
Donovan Blissett, a prisoner at Attica Correctional Facility in New York, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York against the New York Department of Corrections on June 6, 1984, alleging a violation of his due process rights following an internal disciplinary hearing held at the Clinton Correctional Facility. Blissett asserted that his rights were violated because he did not receive adequate notice of the charges against him and was not allowed to present evidence or witnesses on his behalf in the prison disciplinary hearing. In a July 1, 1994 order, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Honorable Con. G. Cholakis) granted summary judgment to Blissett on his due process claim. Judge Cholakis found that prisoners do have a due process right to notice of the charges against them when they face possible segregation from the general prison population, but do not have a constitutional right to call witnesses or present evidence. On a Motion for Reconsideration by the defendants, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case. Blissett v. Coughlin, No. 84-779, 1998 WL 440025 (N.D.N.Y. July 23, 1998) (Judge Lawrence E. Kahn). Judge Kahn found that Blissett's segregation from the general population did not constitute an "atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life," and so did not meet the necessary standards for establishing a violation of his procedural due process rights.

Megan Raynor - 01/23/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) New York Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility claiming that his due process rights were violated at a hearing because he was not allowed to present evidence or witnesses on his behalf and that he was not given sufficient notice of the charges against him
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1994 - 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)
84-779 (N.D.N.Y.) 08/14/1998
PC-NY-0046-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum, Decision and Order 07/23/1998 (1998 WL 440025) (N.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0046-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Kahn, Lawrence E. (N.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0046-0001 | PC-NY-0046-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fieman, Colin A. (New York)
PC-NY-0046-9000
Vacco, Dennis C. (New York)
PC-NY-0046-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Hall, Christopher W. (New York)
PC-NY-0046-9000
Schwartz, Steven H. (Maryland)
PC-NY-0046-0001 | PC-NY-0046-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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