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Case Name Purvis v. Johnson PC-TX-0004
Docket / Court 01-238 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On June 22, 2001, an inmate housed in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff alleged that ... read more >
On June 22, 2001, an inmate housed in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants had violated his constitutional rights by their failure to protect him from a threatening cellmate, their obstruction of a post-assault investigation, and their failure to conduct sufficient post-assault interviews in accord with a previously ordered consent decree.

On February 25, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Judge Mary Lou Robinson) dismissed the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. Purvis v. Johnson, No. 2:01-CV-0238, 2003 WL 22053947 (N.D.Tex. Feb. 25, 2003). The plaintiff appealed.

On October 21, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Judge Edith Hollan Jones, Judge Fortunato Pedro Benavides, and Judge Edith Brown Clement) partially affirmed and partially vacated the district court's decision. The court held that: 1) the plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the prison officials were aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that the inmate faced a substantial risk of serious harm, as required to state an Eighth Amendment claim for failure to protect him from violence at the hands of other prisoners; 2) that the plaintiff's allegation that the prison officer obstructed the investigation into the assault was insufficient to state a claim for violation of the plaintiff's rights; and 3) that the remedial consent decree at issue could not serve as a substantive basis for a claim of damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Fifth Circuit remanded the case back to the district court for proceedings consistent with these findings. Purvis v. Johnson, No. 03-10299, 78 Fed.Appx. 377 (5th Cir. Oct. 21, 2003).

On April 1, 2004, the district court (Judge Robinson) found that the plaintiff was not entitled to any monetary damages and dismissed the case as to the defendants in their official capacities. The court ruled that the claims against the defendants in their individual capacities survived this dismissal. Purvis v. Domingues, No. 2:01-CV-0238, 2004 WL 719243 (N.D.Tex. April 1, 2004).

On April 20, 2004, after the jury had been seated and sworn in for trial, and after the witnesses had testified and been excused, the plaintiff asked the court to dismiss the case. The court granted that request.

Kristen Sagar - 09/04/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Personal injury
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Texas Prisons
Plaintiff Description State prison inmate alleging failure to protect him from a threatening cellmate, obstruction of a post-assault investigation, and failure to conduct sufficient post-assault interviews
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2004
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 ]

Docket(s)
01-238 (N.D. Tex.) 09/15/2005
PC-TX-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order of Dismissal 02/25/2003 (2003 WL 22053947) (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0004-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 10/21/2003 (78 Fed.Appx. 377)
PC-TX-0004-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Defendants' Partial Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and Order of Partial Dismissal 04/01/2004 (2004 WL 719243) (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0004-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Averitte, Clinton E. (N.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
PC-TX-0004-0002
Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Fifth Circuit)
PC-TX-0004-0004
Clement, Edith Brown (E.D. La., Fifth Circuit)
PC-TX-0004-0004
Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit)
PC-TX-0004-0004
Robinson, Mary Lou (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0004-0002 | PC-TX-0004-0003 | PC-TX-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Cunniff, Celamine (Texas)
PC-TX-0004-0003 | PC-TX-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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