University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Williams v. Clinch County, GA JC-GA-0029
Docket / Court 7:04-cv-00124-HL ( M.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On November 2, 2004, two former inmates of Homerville, Georgia's Clinch County Jail filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, challenging the policy of charging Jail inmates fees for room and board. Plaintiffs, represented by the ... read more >
On November 2, 2004, two former inmates of Homerville, Georgia's Clinch County Jail filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, challenging the policy of charging Jail inmates fees for room and board. Plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights and a private law firm, maintained that the 30-year-old practice violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Georgia Constitution and Georgia common law. They sought reimbursement for fees paid, declaratory and injunctive relief, and class certification.

On November 18, 2004, the defendants consented to the entry of a preliminary injunction, which halted the challenged policy pending further litigation.

The parties engaged in discovery throughout 2005. On May 19, 2005, the District Court (Judge Hugh Lawson) permitted Plaintiffs to file an amended complaint and to extend the discovery cut-off date. Williams v. Clinch County, Ga., 231 F.R.D. 700 (M.D.Ga. 2005). Plaintiffs' motion to certify the class was denied on September 30, 2005. Shortly thereafter, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and Plaintiffs renewed their motion for class certification. Prior to ruling on those motions, the District Court (Judge Lawson) stayed all proceedings in the case and referred the parties to mediation before Magistrate Judge G. Mallon Faircloth.

Following mediation, the parties settled the case and agreed to a Consent Order, which was entered by Judge Lawson on April 14, 2006. Under the Consent Order, Clinch County agreed (a) to reimburse the named plaintiffs for any fees charged at any time preceding entry of the preliminary injunction and (b) to reimburse all other inmates for any fees charged during the 4-year period preceding the entry of the preliminary injunction. The County further agreed to refrain from charging inmates in the future. In addition, $30,000 in attorneys' fees and costs was awarded to Plaintiffs.

Dan Dalton - 02/18/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Clinch County
Plaintiff Description All past, current, and future pre-trial detainees at the Clinch County Jail who have been or will be charged for the cost of incarceration in violation of law.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2006 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
7:04-cv-00124-HL (M.D. Ga.) 06/26/2006
JC-GA-0029-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/01/2004
JC-GA-0029-0001 PDF | Detail
Amended Complaint 05/19/2005
JC-GA-0029-0002 PDF | Detail
Order 05/19/2005 (231 F.R.D. 700) (M.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0029-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Consent Order 04/14/2006
JC-GA-0029-0003 PDF | Detail
Judges Lawson, Hugh (M.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0029-0003 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bright, Stephen B. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0002 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Devereaux, Stephen B. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0001 | JC-GA-0029-0002 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0001 | JC-GA-0029-0002 | JC-GA-0029-0003 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Madigan, Amy L. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0002 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Reichman, Courtland (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0001 | JC-GA-0029-0002 | JC-GA-0029-0003 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Strickland, Richard K. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0029-0003 | JC-GA-0029-0004 | JC-GA-0029-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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