University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bills v. Henderson PC-TN-0008
Docket / Court 77-165 ( E.D. Tenn )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1977, inmates at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the warden of the prison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional ... read more >
In 1977, inmates at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the warden of the prison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by a lack of due process in prison disciplinary proceedings, which resulted in a loss of good time, and they asked the court to grant them declaratory and injunctive relief as well as damages. On February 24, 1978, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee (Judge Robert Taylor) denied class certification to the plaintiffs, dismissed the Department of Corrections as a defendant to the suit, and granted injunctive relief to the plaintiffs. The court held that failure to provide inmates a limited written record of the hearing wherein the orders were entered placing them in punitive segregation and depriving them of good time did deprive them of due process. However, the court refused to award punitive damages or restoration of good time to the plaintiffs. Bills v. Henderson, 446 F.Supp. 967 (E.D.Tenn. 1978). The plaintiffs appealed.

On October 1, 1980, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Judge Cornelia Kennedy, Judge George Edwards, and Judge Paul Weick) affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Sixth Circuit held that: (1) the inmates were not afforded their full due process rights prior to transfer to administrative or punitive segregation; (2) that under guidelines applicable at the state prison, inmates had a right to certain procedural protections prior to transfer to administrative or punitive segregation; (3) that when a transfer to administrative segregation is made in response to a finding that the prisoner broke the rules, the prisoner is entitled to a written statement of the evidence relied on and the reasons for the transfer; (4) that when the transfer is based on a determination that it will protect the transferred inmate and other inmates, as well as maintaining order, then the inmate is entitled to notice which is specific enough to inform him of the facts which triggered the charges and to enable him to marshal evidence on his own behalf; (5) that expunging the inmates' records in this case was not an appropriate remedy; (6) that the inmates were not entitled to restoration of good time; and (7) that the inmates could not recover damages. Bills v. Henderson, 631 F.2d 1287 (6th Cir. 1980).

Kristen Sagar - 05/05/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Good time
Personal injury
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Tennessee Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
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 1978 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum 02/24/1978 (446 F.Supp. 967) (E.D. Tenn)
PC-TN-0008-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 10/01/1980 (631 F.2d 1287)
PC-TN-0008-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Kennedy, Cornelia Groefsema (Sixth Circuit, E.D. Mich.)
PC-TN-0008-0002
Taylor, Robert Love (E.D. Tenn)
PC-TN-0008-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Nickle, Carol S. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0008-0001 | PC-TN-0008-0002
O'Connell, Robert A. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0008-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Cottrell, Patricia J. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0008-0001 | PC-TN-0008-0002
Hildebrand, Henry E. III (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0008-0002
McLemore, Brooks (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0008-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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