University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Ransom PC-MI-0022
Docket / Court 2:99-cv-70523-AC ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On February 8, 1999, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, challenging the Michigan Department of Corrections' [MDOC] policies on incoming mail and restricted publications. PLN was represented by the ... read more >
On February 8, 1999, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, challenging the Michigan Department of Corrections' [MDOC] policies on incoming mail and restricted publications. PLN was represented by the Civil Rights Litigation Clinic of Wayne State University. It sought injunctive and monetary relief.

This case was one of several lawsuit instituted by PLN, challenging prison mail restrictions on First Amendment grounds. See e.g., PC-OR-4, PC-AL-24 and PC-WA-8.

Shortly after filing of the lawsuit, the parties settled the case. The Release and Settlement Agreement provided that the MDOC would remove the book "The Celling of America" from its restricted publication list, so that inmates could order the book from Prison Legal News. The MDOC also agreed to modify its regulations regarding inmate mail, such that it would notify the sender of any mail that was received and rejected and provide an opportunity for the sender to lodge its opposition to the rejection. The MDOC agreed to pay monetary damages in the amount of $1,000 each to PLN and Common Courage Press and attorneys fees and costs of $10,605.00.

On May 7, 1999, the District Court (Judge Avern Cohn) entered a stipulation, dismissing the case the case with prejudice.

Dan Dalton - 02/25/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Michigan Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, an independent monthly magazine that provides a cutting edge review and analysis of prisoner rights, court rulings and news about prison issues
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
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 ]

Links Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
99-70523 (E.D. Mich.) 05/07/1999
PC-MI-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Release and Settlement Agreement 04/15/1999
PC-MI-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Manville, Daniel E. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0022-0001 | PC-MI-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Friedman, Leo H. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0022-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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