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Case Name Johnson v. Johnson PC-TX-0008
Docket / Court 02-87 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On April 18, 2002, inmate Roderick Johnson filed an extensive complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that Texas prison officials failed to protect him from repeated sexual assault and therefore violated his rights under the Eighth ... read more >
On April 18, 2002, inmate Roderick Johnson filed an extensive complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that Texas prison officials failed to protect him from repeated sexual assault and therefore violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Johnson brought separate Equal Protection claims for failure to protect because of his race and because of his sexual orientation. Johnson, a black homosexual, claimed that prison officials failed to protect him from prison gangs that repeatedly raped him and bought and sold him as a sexual slave while he was housed at the Texas prison system's Allred Unit. Plaintiff Johnson was represented by the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several private attorneys. The defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings and for summary judgment, asserting qualified immunity and a failure on the prisoner's part to exhaust administrative remedies. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Judge Jerry Buchmeyer) in April, 2003, denied the defendants' motions, and the defendants brought interlocutory appeals. Johnson v. Johnson, No. 02-87, 2003 U.S. Dist. WL 21510816 (N.D.Tex. June 9, 2003).The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Johnson's race-based Equal Protection claims and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings on the remaining claims. Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503 (5th Cir. 2004). The Court of Appeals noted that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, requires that a prisoner exhaust administrative remedies available within the correctional facility before bringing suit under Section 1983 regarding prison conditions. The Court held that Johnson had exhausted the available administrative remedies for his Eighth Amendment claims. The Court also found that Johnson had exhausted remedies for some of his Equal Protection sexual orientation claims because his grievances were sufficient to give prison officials fair notice that there might have been a sexual-orientation-related aspect to Johnson's problems. The Court further held that certain defendant prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity because they did not reasonably respond to Johnson's grievances and their conduct was clearly illegal.

On remand before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the case was reassigned to Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn on January 3, 2005, and on March 22, 2005, the case caption was modified to Johnson v. Wathen to reflect the dismissal of several defendants. On September 8, 2005, Judge Lynn granted plaintiff Johnson's petition for writs of habeas corpus. The case was tried before a jury which rendered a verdict in favor of the defendants on each of Johnson's claims on October 18, 2005. There was some subsequent litigation over attorney's fees. As of this writing, the docket on PACER ends with a January 2006 order granting costs against the plaintiff.

Tom Madison - 02/11/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Protective custody
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Texas DCJ
Plaintiff Description Black homosexual former Texas prisoner alleging that the failure to protect him from repeated sexual assault over an 18-month period violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment and the equal protection clause
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
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)
02-00087 (N.D. Tex.) 01/12/2006
PC-TX-0008-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Prison Offender Grievance Forms 02/26/2001
PC-TX-0008-0003 PDF | Detail
Complaint 04/01/2002
PC-TX-0008-0001 PDF | Detail
Press Release 04/17/2002
PC-TX-0008-0005 PDF | Detail
Offender Protection Investigation Form 11/13/2002
PC-TX-0008-0004 PDF | Detail
Order Certifying Issue of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies for Interlocutory Appeal 06/09/2003 (2003 WL 21510816) (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0008-0011 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Circuit Court Brief of Plaintiff Appellee 12/29/2003
PC-TX-0008-0002 PDF | Detail
Untitled 02/26/2004
PC-TX-0008-0006 PDF | Detail
Opinion 09/08/2004 (385 F.3d 503)
PC-TX-0008-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Untitled 09/09/2004
PC-TX-0008-0007 PDF | Detail
Untitled 09/16/2005
PC-TX-0008-0008 PDF | Detail
Press Release 10/19/2005
PC-TX-0008-0009 PDF | Detail
Judges Fish, Allen Joe (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0008-0011
Justice, William Wayne (E.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0008-0005
King, Carolyn Dineen (Fifth Circuit)
PC-TX-0008-0010
Lynn, Barbara M. (N.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cowie, Craig (District of Columbia)
PC-TX-0008-0001 | PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Fettig, Amy (District of Columbia)
PC-TX-0008-0002 | PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Hoffman, Timothy L. (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Monks, Jeffrey (District of Columbia)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Tuddenham, Edward John (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-0001 | PC-TX-0008-0002 | PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Winter, Margaret (District of Columbia)
PC-TX-0008-0001 | PC-TX-0008-0002 | PC-TX-0008-0006 | PC-TX-0008-0007 | PC-TX-0008-0008 | PC-TX-0008-0009 | PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cunniff, Celamine (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-0002 | PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Harris, David A. (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Tepper, Matthew (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-0010 | PC-TX-0008-9000
Wike, Christopher Champion (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Other Lawyers Brocato, Anthony Gerard Jr. (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Linz, Michael F. (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000
Rountree, Meredith (Texas)
PC-TX-0008-9000

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