University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Williams v. Price PC-PA-0001
Docket / Court 2:95-cv-00338-IJS ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1995, death row inmates of the State Correctional Institution at Greene filed a Section 1983 suit in the Western District of Pennsylvania, pro se, against officials of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Plaintiffs claimed that strip searches prior to non contact visits with attorneys ... read more >
In 1995, death row inmates of the State Correctional Institution at Greene filed a Section 1983 suit in the Western District of Pennsylvania, pro se, against officials of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Plaintiffs claimed that strip searches prior to non contact visits with attorneys were unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment; that they were deprived of equal protection in being denied contact legal visits; and that the lack of confidential meeting rooms for legal visits deprived them of their right to privacy. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Ila Jeanne Sensenich for pretrial proceedings who appointed Jere Krakoff as plaintiffs' counsel. Defendants moved for summary judgment in July 1997.

In October 1997, Judge Sensenich filed a report and recommendation that defendants' motion for summary judgment should be granted with respect to the strip search and contact legal visits issues, but denied as to plaintiffs' right to privacy claim. In November, the District Court (Judge Alan N. Bloch) adopted Magistrate Judge Sensenich's report and recommendation. Williams v. Price, 25 F. Supp. 2d 605 (W.D. Pa. 1997). Plaintiffs then moved for summary judgment on the right to privacy issue.

In March 1998, Judge Bloch entered an order granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and entered relief requiring defendants to provide plaintiffs with a place where they could have private conversations with counsel. Immediately subsequently, defendants filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment asserting that the injunction, which had been entered, had not complied with the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996. Judge Bloch vacated his March 1998 order and again referred the case to Magistrate Judge Sensenich for further proceedings in accordance with the PLRA.

Judge Sensenich granted again plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment holding that defendants had violated plaintiffs' First Amendment right to confidential oral communications with their attorneys. This time, however, the plaintiffs did not request injunctive relief, instead seeking only a declaratory judgment, which was granted. Williams v. Price, 25 F. Supp. 2d 623 (W.D. Pa. 1998).

Litigation regarding attorneys' fees continued until September 1999, when the case was closed.

Eoghan Keenan - 06/10/2005


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) State Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Death row inmates bringing claim that circumstances of their confinement denied them their constitutional rights
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1997 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
Civil 95-338 (W.D. Pa.) 09/10/1999
PC-PA-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Order 11/25/1997 (25 F.Supp.2d 605) (W.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0001-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 10/16/1998 (25 F.Supp.2d 623) (W.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0001-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Bloch, Alan Neil (W.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0001-0001
Sensenich, Ila Jeanne (W.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
PC-PA-0001-0002 | PC-PA-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Krakoff, Jere (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0001-0001 | PC-PA-0001-0002 | PC-PA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McClelland, Donna J. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0001-9000
Mericli, Kemal Alexander (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0001-0001 | PC-PA-0001-0002 | PC-PA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -