University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Long v. Norris PC-TN-0010
Docket / Court 86-516 ( E.D. Tenn )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In December 1985, inmates and former inmates at the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility in Tennessee filed three lawsuits against the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the United States District Court for ... read more >
In December 1985, inmates and former inmates at the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility in Tennessee filed three lawsuits against the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Male inmates and their wives or fiancés brought three damage actions, which were later consolidated, challenging visitation policies at the prison. Plaintiffs, represented by Rural Legal Services of Tennessee, alleged that their First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by strip and body cavity searches conducted on visitor plaintiffs, because they interfered with plaintiffs' right to freedom of association, they were done without probable cause, and they had a chilling effect on the inmate plaintiffs' rights to visitation.

On February 15, 1989, the district court (Judge James H. Jarvis) denied defendants' motion to dismiss and for summary judgment, finding they were not immune from liability as government officials. The defendants filed an interlocutory appeal, which was granted.

On April 3, 1991, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Boyce F. Martin) partially affirmed the denial of summary judgment based on plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment claim that the searches violated their right to prison visitation, because according to Tennessee prison regulations, plaintiffs' visitation rights were mandatory and could not be removed without good cause. Long v. Norris, 929 F.2d 1111 (6th Cir. 1991). However, the court reversed the denial of summary judgment on the First and Fourth Amendment claims, finding defendants had qualified immunity based on plaintiffs' freedom of association and unreasonable search and seizure claims. The court reversed the denial of summary judgment based on the First Amendment claim because plaintiffs did not allege that the defendants conducted the searches with the intent to discourage association or as a way to retaliate against the association. Additionally, the court found that the prison visitors' constitutional rights to freedom from strip and body cavity searches absent probable cause were not clearly established at the time of the searches.

On October 7, 1991, the Supreme Court denied defendants' petition for writ of certiorari. Jones v. Long, 502 U.S. 863 (1991).

Emilee Baker - 05/16/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Visiting
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Tennessee Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates and former inmates challenging policy which authorized strip and body cavity searches of visitors, regardless of probable cause.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
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 ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ 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
Reported Opinion 04/03/1991 (929 F.2d 1111)
PC-TN-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari 07/25/1991
PC-TN-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
[Cert. denied] 10/07/1991 (502 U.S. 863)
PC-TN-0010-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Martin, Boyce Ficklen Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
PC-TN-0010-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, William (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0010-0002
Nickle, Carol S. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0010-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Judkins, Joe R (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0010-0001 | PC-TN-0010-0002
Parker, Alan M. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0010-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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