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Case Name Brooks v. Ward PC-NC-0008
Docket / Court C-E-80-414-M ( W.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On December 18, 1980, acting pro se, four prisoners filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina against the superintendent of a unit of the North Carolina Department of Correction (NCDC). The plaintiffs sought damages, injunctive and declaratory relief on ... read more >
On December 18, 1980, acting pro se, four prisoners filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina against the superintendent of a unit of the North Carolina Department of Correction (NCDC). The plaintiffs sought damages, injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of themselves and all white prisoners similarly situated, alleging that conditions of confinement in this particular facility violated constitutional and statutory rights. The court appointed private counsel on April 22, 1982, who filed an amended complaint on June 15, 1982, on behalf of all prisoners then or to be confined in the particular facility. The amendment added six additional defendants, dropped the damages claim and added a claim of retaliatory transfer. The latter claim was rejected in a jury trial on October 18, 1982. The amended complaint's claims of unconstitutional conditions of confinement cited overcrowding, inadequate screening, diagnosis and classification procedures, inadequate medical procedures, and inadequate vocational and educational opportunities. The totality of conditions at the NCDC facilities also allegedly violated the plaintiffs' constitutional and statutory rights.

After two plaintiffs completed their sentences and were voluntarily dismissed from the case, a motion to add other plaintiffs and a motion for class certification were filed on December 6, 1982. The more expansive class thus sought included all present and future prisoners in twelve NCDC facilities in the administrative region designated the South Piedmont Area. The defendants then sought to dismiss the entire suit on the ground of mootness.

On April 8, 1983, an order of U.S. District Judge James Bryan McMillan denied the defense motion, ruling that any mootness was created by the act of the defendants in transferring plaintiffs away from the complained-of prison unit. In view of the advanced stage of the discovery process and without a sufficient showing of prejudice to the defendants, Judge McMillan also rejected defense challenges to the intervention of the additional plaintiffs and to the certification of the class. Brooks v. Ward, 97 F.R.D. 529 (W.D. N.C. 1983).

We have no further information about this case.

Mike Fagan - 04/29/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Classification / placement
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action
Defendant(s) North Carolina Department of Correction
Union County Prison Unit
Plaintiff Description All prisoners who are or will be confined in those facilities administered by the North Carolina Department of Correction and located in the administrative region designated South Piedmont area.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
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 ]

  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
Order 04/08/1983 (97 F.R.D. 529) (W.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0008-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges McMillan, James Bryan (W.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berger, Joel (New York)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Greenberg, Jack (New York)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Lawrence, Melinda (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Lesesne, Louis L. Jr. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Smith, Norman B. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Winter, Steven L. (New York)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Capone, Lucien III (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0008-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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