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Case Name Carty v. Farrelly PC-VI-0001
Docket / Court 3:94-cv-00078-SSB ( D.V.I. )
State/Territory Virgin Islands
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On June 20, 1994, inmates of the Criminal Justice Complex in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the National Prison Project of the American ... read more >
On June 20, 1994, inmates of the Criminal Justice Complex in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and others, sued the Governor of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections; they asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the poor conditions of their confinement. Specifically, they complained of the inadequacy of the building in which they were housed to hold prisoners, up to five prisoners in each cell, lack of a functioning sink in each cell, only one showerhead for use by all prisoners in each cluster, overcrowding (population was, they said, 4 times capacity), lack of sufficient beds, transmission of infectious diseases, and defective plumbing. They also complained of inadequacies in the areas of sanitation, programming, exercise, food service, medical care, personal safety, noise levels, and an environment of tension, stress, and hostility. They contended that the overcrowding led to a high risk of violence, as well as infestation with roaches, rats, flies, mosquitoes, and mice. They complained of contaminated drinking water, moldy showers, broken cooling and ventilation systems, broken windows, asbestos particles in the air, poor lighting, risk of fire, poor medical care, inadequate classification and screening procedures, lack of delivery of prescription medication, poor dental care, poor mental health care, discrimination against disabled prisoners, excessive use of force, failure to protect prisoners from one another, denial of access to a law library and to attorneys, and interference with religious practices.

On October 12, 1994, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which they submitted to the Court for approval. Under the terms of the agreement, the defendants agreed to limit the population to 97 inmates (less than half of the former population), to house female inmates separately from male inmates, and to eliminate double-celling. The agreement also addressed problems in the areas of insufficient mattresses, providing a storage area in each cell for each inmates' personal possessions, establishing a comprehensive kitchen maintenance and sanitation plan, preventive maintenance, clean drinking water, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, ventilation, air conditioning, nutrition, lighting, noise levels, temperature control, personal hygiene, provision of linens, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, vermin and pests, fire safety, medical care, substance abuse treatment, medications, intake evaluations, disease testing, record-keeping, mental health care, inmate safety, activities, recreation, education, use of force, and other concerns mentioned in the complaint. The case was assigned to Judge Stanley Brotman, and the Court adopted the agreement as a consent decree in December of 1994 and awarded the plaintiffs $155,000 in attorneys' fees.

Over the next two years, the defendants paid only one third of the attorneys' fees that had been ordered by the Court, and the plaintiffs asked the Court to hold them in contempt for this violation, as well as for other violations of the decree. Judge Brotman held hearings on these motions, and on November 26, 1996, the defendants asked the District Court to modify the consent decree. They informed the court that over the two years following the adoption of the consent decree, the Virgin Islands experienced five major storms, which they alleged to have caused unforeseen and unbudgeted financial setbacks for the entire populace of the Islands, resulting in an unprecedented public debt. They alleged that due to these concerns, they were unable to comply with the consent decree in two areas: 1) overpopulation of the facility, and 2) psychiatric evaluation, care, and management of the prisoners. Due to this situation, they asked the Court to excuse them from complying with these portions of the decree. The defendants then asked the District Court to terminate the consent decree pursuant to the recently-enacted Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).

On January 30, 1997, Judge Brotman found for the plaintiffs; he held that the defendants' conduct and the conditions at the prison violated the Eighth Amendment by subjecting the prisoners to inhumane conditions of confinement. The Court further found that the defendants had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against prisoners with disabilities, and that they had violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by instituting unreasonable policies regarding inmate religious practices. The Court also found that they had denied the inmates meaningful access to the courts and defied the Court by refusing to pay the attorneys' fees. Carty v. Farrelly, 957 F.Supp. 727 (D.Virgin Islands 1997). A month later, the Court held the defendants in contempt and ordered them to submit regular reports to the Court on their progress.

(In a separate case addressing whether the federal government could constitutionally house prisoners in any of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections facilities, on April 2, 1997, District Judge Thomas Moore found that the prison conditions were unconstitutional and issued an order that no persons detained under process of the U.S. Government and any of its agencies should be lodged or housed in any facilities of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections. In the Matter Of: Federal Detainees Housed or Lodged in the Facilities of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections on St. Croix, 1997 WL 182301 (D.Virgin Islands April 2, 1997). On April 25, 1997, Judge Moore modified that order to allow the U.S. Marshal to lodge federal detainees in Bureau of Corrections facilities in St. Croix when required by logistical difficulties of moving such prisoners between the Virgin Islands and the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center. In the Matter Of: Federal Detainees Housed or Lodged in the Facilities of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections on St. Croix, 1997 WL 222647 (D.Virgin Islands, April 25, 1997).)

On December 2, 1997, the District Court (Judge Brotman) ruled on another motion by the plaintiffs for civil contempt. The Court held that the plaintiffs were not entitled to monetary sanctions, and ordered the defendants to continue reporting on their progress. Carty v. Schneider, 986 F.Supp. 933 (D.Virgin Islands 1997).

Four years later, the District Court did hold the defendants in contempt of the consent decree, finding that they had not made a reasonable effort to comply with the Court's orders. Carty v. Turnbull, 144 F.Supp.2d 395 (D.Virgin Islands 2001).

On February 27, 2007, the District Court again held the defendants in contempt, finding that the defendants had failed to even file a reply to the plaintiff class motion for an order holding the defendants in contempt for failure to comply with the consent decree's requirements in the area of mental health care.

On February 21, 2008 the court ordered a corrections expert to inspect the prison facilities. On January 12, 2009, the defendants filed a motion to terminate the consent decree and remove the court supervision. The court then filed a scheduling order setting discovery deadlines and a date for a hearing. The defendants did not comply with the deadlines, leading the court to rule that the defendants would not be permitted to present evidence contradicting the findings of the plaintiffs' corrections expert or of any remedial efforts taken since the experts' tour of the prison facilities. The defendants ultimately withdrew their motion to terminate.

On May 18, 2010 the court issued an opinion regarding the report made by the corrections expert on his visit to the prison facilities. Carty v. DeJongh, 2010 WL 2024524. The court found the defendants were still not in compliance with the settlement agreement and ordered them to resolve all deficiencies swiftly and fully. The order required that the defendants supply the court with periodic status reports on its compliance with the settlement agreement and other remedial orders. The defendants submitted the status reports, as ordered, for the following two years.

On March 4, 2011, plaintiffs moved for the appointment of an expert to work with the defendants on population management and prisoner classification issues. Judge Brotman agreed on June 28, 2011, issuing an order assigning Dr. James Austin to serve as a population manager and classification expert. The order also required Dr. Austin to perform periodic criminal justice assessments to assist the government in reducing the prisoner population at the Criminal Justice Complex and Annex. The defendants moved for reconsideration, on October 7, 2011, and apparently this reconsideration motion was never ruled upon.

On May 13, 2013, parties proposed a new settlement agreement. Under the settlement, the defendant agreed to make significant improvements to classification and housing of prisoners, prisoner supervision, general security, housing and environmental health conditions, population control, development of policies and procedures, use of force, use of physical restraints, addressing prisoner grievances, programming, staffing, fire safety, medical and mental health care, training of staff, and monitoring of the prison. The settlement also stated that relief would terminate when the defendant has achieved and maintained substantial compliance for one year. On August 14, 2013, the court approved the settlement.

There was very little progress towards compliance, however. So as the Court explained later (in an order dated March 11, 2016) on May 10, 2015, Dr. James Austin--who had been designated the Court's expert on population management in 2011--sent an email to the defendants notifying them that he wanted to make a site visit to the correctional facilities in June 2015, to conduct his criminal justice assessment in line with the June 28, 2011 order. The defendants' response was that no provision of the consent decree authorized such an assessment and, as such, Dr. Austin could not perform that task.

On June 2, 2015, plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the June 28, 2011 order. On December 9, 2015, a regularly scheduled quarterly evidentiary hearing was held. During the hearing, the defendants acknowledged that nothing had superseded the original order; the court (Judge Gomez) accordingly ruled orally that day that the 2011 appointment remained in effect. That decision was filed in written form in an order dated March 11, 2016,

In the meantime, plaintiffs continued to work to enforce the settlement agreement more generally, with contested motions relating to site visits and the like. There have been expert reports and new goals set out quarterly.

Kristen Sagar - 10/16/2007
Priyah Kaul - 10/01/2014
- 04/27/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reasonable Accommodation
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Education
Excessive force
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Loss or damage to property
Mail
Personal injury
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Torture
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections
Plaintiff Description inmates of the Criminal Justice Complex in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1994 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
94-78 (D.V.I.) 04/01/2016
PC-VI-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 06/20/1994
PC-VI-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 09/01/1994
PC-VI-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement 10/12/1994
PC-VI-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree Table of Compliance 12/01/1994 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0011 PDF | Detail
Stipulation 12/01/1994
PC-VI-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Stipulation 01/12/1995
PC-VI-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
Order 07/22/1996 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0015 PDF | Detail
Motion for Modification of Consent Decree and Supporting Memorandum of Law 11/26/1996
PC-VI-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Opinion 01/30/1997 (957 F.Supp. 727) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0019 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 04/02/1997 (1997 WL 182301 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 4729) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0023 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order 04/25/1997 (1997 WL 222647) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0022 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion on Sanctions for Civil Contempt 12/02/1997 (986 F.Supp. 933) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0020 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Contempt Motion 06/04/2001 (144 F.Supp.2d 395) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0021 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 02/27/2007 (2007 WL 817607) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0018 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion in Response to Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Regarding Defendants' Compliance with the Mental Health and Corrections Remedies 05/18/2010 (2010 WL 2024524) (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0024 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Motion for the Appointment of James Austin as the Court's Population Management and Classification Expert 03/04/2011
PC-VI-0001-0032 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/28/2011 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0033 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/13/2013 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0025 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 05/13/2013
PC-VI-0001-0026 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Report of Kathryn A. Burns, MD, MPH On Compliance with Mental Health Provisions of the Settlement Agreement 10/17/2014
PC-VI-0001-0034 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce the Court's Order Appointing Dr. James Austin to Conduct a Population Management Assessment, or in the Alternative to Re-appoint Dr. Austin 06/02/2015
PC-VI-0001-0031 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Report of Kathryn A. Burns, MD, MPH on Compliance with Mental Health Provisions of the Settlement Agreement 07/25/2015
PC-VI-0001-0035 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/21/2015 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0036 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion [to Enforce Judgment of Settlement Agreement, etc] 10/08/2015
PC-VI-0001-0027 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opposition [to Motion re 842 MOTION to Enforce Judgment of Settlement Agreement] 10/09/2015
PC-VI-0001-0028 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice [of Filing of Defendants' Quarterly Goals] 02/26/2016
PC-VI-0001-0029 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion [for Court Order Accepting Agreed Upon Quarterly Goal] 02/29/2016
PC-VI-0001-0030 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/11/2016 (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0037 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Expedited Motion for Court Order Accepting Agreed Upon Quarterly Goals 03/23/2016
PC-VI-0001-0038 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Barnard, G. W. (D.V.I.) [Magistrate]
PC-VI-0001-9000
Brotman, Stanley Seymour (D.N.J., FISC)
PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0015 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-0018 | PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-0020 | PC-VI-0001-0021 | PC-VI-0001-0024 | PC-VI-0001-0025 | PC-VI-0001-0033 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Gomez, Curtis V. Court not on record
PC-VI-0001-0036 | PC-VI-0001-0037
Moore, Thomas K. (D.V.I.)
PC-VI-0001-0022 | PC-VI-0001-0023 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balaban, Eric G. (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0018 | PC-VI-0001-0021 | PC-VI-0001-0026 | PC-VI-0001-0027 | PC-VI-0001-0028 | PC-VI-0001-0029 | PC-VI-0001-0030 | PC-VI-0001-0031 | PC-VI-0001-0032 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Currence, Benjamin A. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0001 | PC-VI-0001-0005 | PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-0018 | PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-0020 | PC-VI-0001-0021 | PC-VI-0001-0026 | PC-VI-0001-0027 | PC-VI-0001-0028 | PC-VI-0001-0029 | PC-VI-0001-0030 | PC-VI-0001-0031 | PC-VI-0001-0032 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Khan, Ayesha N. (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0001 | PC-VI-0001-0005 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Koren, Edward I. (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0001 | PC-VI-0001-0005 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Lopez, Mark J. (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0001 | PC-VI-0001-0005 | PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Rifkin, Marjorie Lynn (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0001 | PC-VI-0001-0005 | PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-0020 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Rosenberg, Scott Alan (New York)
PC-VI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ballentine, Rosalie S. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Brady, Julio (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0020 | PC-VI-0001-0022 | PC-VI-0001-0023 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Cormier, Maureen Phelan (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-9000
D'Andrade, Shari N. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0038
Frazer, Vincent (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0026 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Harrison, Gina (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0020 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Hurd, Jim A. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0022 | PC-VI-0001-0023 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Schrader, Richard Jr. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0021 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Schumann, John (District of Columbia)
PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Stridiron, Iver A. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0018 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Swan, Alva A. (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0009 | PC-VI-0001-0019 | PC-VI-0001-0022 | PC-VI-0001-0023 | PC-VI-0001-9000
York, S. Elwood (Virgin Islands)
PC-VI-0001-0007 | PC-VI-0001-0012 | PC-VI-0001-0016 | PC-VI-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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