University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Bryan v. Werner PC-PA-0011
Docket / Court 73-606 ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1975, William Thomas Bryan, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, Pennsylvania, filed a Section 1983 suit, pro se, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against prison officials. Plaintiff alleged that various regulations and practices unconstitutionally restrict inmates' ... read more >
In 1975, William Thomas Bryan, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, Pennsylvania, filed a Section 1983 suit, pro se, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against prison officials. Plaintiff alleged that various regulations and practices unconstitutionally restrict inmates' access to the courts. Specifically, plaintiff complained of defendants' refusal to allow inmates to use the Resident Law Clinic for the preparation of writs, damage suits, or civil suits against the prison. To enforce this policy, outgoing mail from the clinic was inspected and subject to approval by one of the coordinators.

After a consolidated hearing, the district court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary and permanent injunction and entered judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. Bryan v. Werner, 516 F.2d 288 (3d Cir. 1975). The court (Judge James Hunter III) held that defendants could not refuse to mail legal papers because it impeded inmate's access to the courts. The court also held that defendants' policy of preventing the clinic from assisting inmates in suits against the prison is valid only if there are reasonable alternatives for the inmate. The case was remanded for reconsideration of reasonable alternatives to the clinic available to inmates.

The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the most recent decision, dated May 7, 1975.

Eoghan Keenan - 06/10/2005


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Law library access
Mail
Search policies
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 Plaintiff is an inmate alleging that aspects of the operation of a resident law clinic at institution violated his 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 1975 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion of the Court 05/07/1975 (516 F.2d 233)
PC-PA-0011-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Hunter, James III (Third Circuit)
PC-PA-0011-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Kane, Robert P. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0011-0001
Smyser, J. Andrew (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0011-0001
Other Lawyers Lerner, Benjamin (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0011-0001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -