University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Fluellen v. Wetherington PC-GA-0011
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00479-JEC ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On February 20, 2002, a group of prisoners with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities incarcerated at Phillips State Prison filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 class action lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections and Phillips State Prison in the U.S. District Court for the Northern ... read more >
On February 20, 2002, a group of prisoners with mental illness and/or intellectual disabilities incarcerated at Phillips State Prison filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 class action lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections and Phillips State Prison in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta Division). Plaintiffs alleged that they were subject to physical, mental, and sexual abuse, excessive use of force, improper and prolonged placement in administrative and disciplinary segregation, and an on-going risk of suicide, self-injury, and death, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et seq.

Plaintiffs sought to represent a class of "all individuals whose abilities to cope with the demands of life within the correctional environment are impaired or in need of monitoring due to mental illness and/or mental retardation, who are now or will be in the future incarcerated in Phillips State Prison." On March 21, 2003, the District Court (Judge Julie E. Carnes) denied, without prejudice, Plaintiffs' motion for class certification on grounds that the definition of the proposed class was too vague and indefinite to be workable and that Plaintiffs failed to meet the prerequisites of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation. The court thereby severed the claims of each individual plaintiff, directing them to file individual complaints within thirty days of the court's Order.

The court specified that the individual claim of Plaintiff Lacoya Fluellen would continue to be maintained in the current action (styled Fluellen, et al. v. Wetherington, et al., 1:02-CV-479-JEC) but that Fluellen, like the other individual plaintiffs, would have to file an amended complaint within thirty days. The court further emphasized the its refusal to certify the class was without prejudice and that, if the plaintiffs could, in the future, more adequately define the proposed class, the court would again consider a motion for class certification.

Fluellen, however, feared for his safety at Phillips State Prison and wished to transfer out of the facility. (See Ralph v. Adams, Order [Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss], located in database at PC-GA-0013-0001.) Because he could not accept such transfer while the lawsuit was pending, Fluellen, on April 9, 2003, dismissed his claim without prejudice. The case was terminated on the same day.

The District Court stated that, given the procedural posture, the voluntary dismissal by Fluellen meant that there was no longer any case. (See Ralph v. Adams, Order [Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss], located in database at PC-GA-0013-0001.) An amended class action complaint would thus have to be filed in the name of a different plaintiff. Consequently, Plaintiff's counsel chose Richard Ralph to be the named plaintiff in the purported class action and, on January 29, 2004, filed an amended class action complaint in the related case of Ralph v. Adams. Ralph v. Adams appears in our database as PC-GA-0013.

Vidhya Reddy - 03/04/2008


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary segregation
Personal injury
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Georgia Department of Corrections
Phillips State Prison
Plaintiff Description Inmates at Phillips State Prison whose abilities to cope with the demands of life within the correctional environment are impaired or in need of monitoring due to mental illness and/or mental retardation [Class Not Certified]
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-GA-0013 : Ralph v. Adams (N.D. Ga.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
1:02-cv-00479-JEC (N.D. Ga.) 05/14/2004
PC-GA-0011-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint (Refiled) 03/20/2002
PC-GA-0011-0001 PDF | Detail
Order 03/21/2003 (2003 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 21712) (N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0011-0006 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Order Pursuant to Federal Rule 41 Granting Voluntary Dismissal of Civil Action 04/09/2003 (N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0011-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges Carnes, Julie E. (Eleventh Circuit, N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bright, Stephen B. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0001 | PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Chartoff, Marion D. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0001 | PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Kung, Lisa L. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0001 | PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Serwer, Tamara H. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0001 | PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baker, Thurbert E. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Jones, John Custer (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0001 | PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Pacious, Kathleen Mary (Georgia)
PC-GA-0011-0006 | PC-GA-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -