University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Osterback v. Moore PC-FL-0011
Docket / Court 1:97-cv-02806-DLG ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Plaintiffs, prisoners in various Florida state prisons, brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) officials operating the prisons on October 28, 1997. In the allegations in the second amended complaint, their 42 U. ... read more >
Plaintiffs, prisoners in various Florida state prisons, brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) officials operating the prisons on October 28, 1997. In the allegations in the second amended complaint, their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case alleged that prisoners housed in "Close Management" (CM) status in these prisons suffered cruel and unusual punishment in violation of their Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiffs, seeking class action status, also sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorneys' fees. Their attorneys included counsel from the Florida Justice Institute.

According to the plaintiffs, the thousands of Florida prisoners in CM Units are generally there for disciplinary reasons and live with marked restrictions upon, for example, time outside their cells, visitation and library access, religious and recreation opportunities, and communication with fellow prisoners and the outside world. The cells are small, sparse, and poorly ventilated. Although CM status allows for three level of restrictive conditions, the plaintiffs contend all levels result in physical and, particularly, mental harm. The harsh conditions exacerbate pre-existing mental illness in some prisoners and trigger mental illness in others, according to the plaintiffs, with resultant increases in prison violence and anti-social behavior by persons living in these conditions.

On February 2, 1998, District Judge Federico A. Moreno denied the plaintiffs' request for class action status. However, after amended pleadings were filed, Judge Moreno certified the matter as a class action on July 26, 2000.

At various times during this case, the defendants tendered settlement offers of judgment, without admitting liability. These offers included detailed plans for revised operation of the CM program in the Florida prison system. The revisions included consolidation of facilities, improved staff training and mental health services, and levels of access to reading materials, telephones, and media. New state administrative regulations and requests for legislative funding applicable to CM improvements were also part of the offer. On November 11, 2001, plaintiffs filed their notice of acceptance of one of these offers. The settlement required defendants to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and to make periodic reports to plaintiffs' counsel and the court regarding implementation of the improvements to the CM program.

District Judge Paul C. Huck approved the settlement on December 27, 2001, and sent a February 25, 2002, notice to class members that their time to object to the settlement had passed and that grievances, if any, about the CM program were to be sent to the FDOC.

After nearly two years, on January 8, 2004, plaintiffs asked that the court restore the case to its trial docket, alleging that the state had failed to implement the promised reforms and that the CM program continued to operate to deny plaintiffs their Eighth Amendment protections. In support of their request, the plaintiffs submitted reports by experts they had retained who were familiar with the conditions imposed in the CM program.

On March 10, 2004, District Judge Donald L. Graham issued an order transferring the case to the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The case continued there and resulted in a bench trial before District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr., between September 11 and 21, 2006. The parties submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law on February 27 and 28, 2007, in the case, now styled Osterback v. Secretary, docket number 3:04-cv-00210-HLA-MCR. The case was then reassigned again to Judge James R. Klindt, docket number 3:04-cv-210-J-25JRK. However, shortly thereafter, Judge Adams, terminated the proposed injunctive relief in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act's limitation on the time span of prison reform decrees and the clerk was directed to close the case on March 25, 2008.

Mike Fagan - 04/11/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Education
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Pepper/OC spray
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : physical
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Florida Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All persons who are currently assigned to Close Management in prisons operated by the Florida Department of Corrections or who in the future will be assigned to Close Management One, Two, or Three (subclasses)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2008
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)
1:97-cv-02806-DLG (S.D. Fla.) 04/30/2010
PC-FL-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:04-cv-00210-HLA-MCR (M.D. Fla.) 07/19/2013
PC-FL-0011-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Report of Magistrate Judge [Re: Class Certification] 12/24/1997
PC-FL-0011-0008.pdf | Detail
Order [Accepting Report on Class Certification] 02/03/1998 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0009.pdf | Detail
Second Amended Complaint - Class Action 11/01/1999
PC-FL-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Order Adopting Magistrates's Report and Recommendation and Overruling Defendants' Objections 07/26/2000 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0010.pdf | Detail
Defendants' Revised Offer of Judgment 10/02/2001
PC-FL-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Notice of Class Action Settlement to All Inmates Currently in the Custody of the Florida Department of Corrections 10/10/2001
PC-FL-0011-0011.pdf | Detail
Plaintiffs' Notice of Acceptance of Defendants' Revised Offer of Judgment 11/03/2001
PC-FL-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Omnibus Order Denying Class Members' Pro Se Motions 11/16/2001 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0012.pdf | Detail
Omnibus Order Denying Class Members' Pro Se MOtions 12/06/2001 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0013.pdf | Detail
Order Entering Defendants' Revised Offer of Judgment 12/27/2001 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0014.pdf | Detail
Order [Regarding Notice to Class Members] 02/25/2002 (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Motion to Terminate Revised Offer of Judgment; and Plaintiffs' Motion to Reopen Discovery and Restore Case to Trial Calendar; and Plaintiffs' Motion for a Status Conference 12/24/2003
PC-FL-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Second Report of Professor Craig Haney 12/24/2003
PC-FL-0011-0006.pdf | Detail
Affidavit of Chase Riveland 12/24/2003
PC-FL-0011-0007.pdf | Detail
Order Granting Motion to Terminate Revised Ofer of Judgment 03/25/2008 (549 F.Supp.2d 1337) (M.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Adams, Henry Lee Jr. (M.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0015 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Graham, Donald L. (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-9000
Huck, Paul C. (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0004 | PC-FL-0011-0012 | PC-FL-0011-0013 | PC-FL-0011-0014
Moreno, Federico A. (S.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0011-0009 | PC-FL-0011-0010
Richardson, Monte C. (M.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PC-FL-0011-9001
Sorrentino, Charlene H. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PC-FL-0011-0008 | PC-FL-0011-0012
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berg, Randall Challen Jr. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0001 | PC-FL-0011-0003 | PC-FL-0011-0005 | PC-FL-0011-0010 | PC-FL-0011-0011 | PC-FL-0011-0014 | PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Jones, Christopher Michael (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0001 | PC-FL-0011-0003 | PC-FL-0011-0005 | PC-FL-0011-0010 | PC-FL-0011-0014 | PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Kachergus, Matthew R. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9001
O'Brien, Cullin Avram (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9001
Sheppard, William J. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9001
Siegel, Peter Michael (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0001 | PC-FL-0011-0003 | PC-FL-0011-0005 | PC-FL-0011-0010 | PC-FL-0011-0011 | PC-FL-0011-0012 | PC-FL-0011-0013 | PC-FL-0011-0014 | PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Thomas, D. Gray (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Butterworth, Robert A. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0002
Fahlbusch, Charles M. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0002 | PC-FL-0011-0011 | PC-FL-0011-0012 | PC-FL-0011-0013 | PC-FL-0011-0014 | PC-FL-0011-9000
Kilinski, Caryl (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Maher, Susan Adams (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9001
Peters, James Aaron (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0002 | PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Savor, Kathleen M. (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-0010 | PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Streeter, Maxine K (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Vail, E. Jason (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Von Hoene, Kathleen Marie (Florida)
PC-FL-0011-9000 | PC-FL-0011-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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