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Case Name Haverty v. Commissioner of Correction PC-MA-0028
Docket / Court SUCV1995-03634 ( State Court )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Case Summary
On June 30, 1995, prisoners at MCI-Cedar Junction (MCI) filed this § 1983 suit in Suffolk Superior Court against the Massachusetts Department of Correction, alleging violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of confinement in the East ... read more >
On June 30, 1995, prisoners at MCI-Cedar Junction (MCI) filed this § 1983 suit in Suffolk Superior Court against the Massachusetts Department of Correction, alleging violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of confinement in the East Wing units violated their due process rights, and that defendant's policy for identifying, classifying, and punishing prison gangs violated their equal protection rights. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They also moved for a preliminary injunction on the same day the complaint was filed.

The incidents underlying the case began on April 3, 1995, when about a dozen prisoners attacked a correctional officer in MCI's East Wing. In response, the defendants instituted a lockdown that continued through August. The plaintiffs' challenge was to policies implemented during this lockdown.

On July 14, 1995, the trial court (Judge Paul A. Chernoff) ordered the defendants to meet minimum requirements regarding inmates' out-of-cell time; access to showers, cleaning equipment, and cleansers; and access to the law library and paralegals. 1995 WL 17814072.

The plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 13, 1995, and the trial court certified two classes on November 15, 1995. The due process claim class was defined as "all prisoners who are now confined or may at some point be confined at/in any housing unit other than the Department Disciplinary Unit" at MCI. Regarding the equal protection claims, the class was defined as "Hispanic inmates who have been or will in the future be assigned to the Plymouth housing units" at MCI. 2003 WL 25530367 at n.3.

Later that year, on June 10, 1996, the plaintiffs filed to consolidate the case with another (No. 93-6300D), which the trial court denied a few days later. The trial docket provides no other information about the other case.

Discovery commenced for the next couple of years. On May 22, 1997, the plaintiffs moved for sanctions because the defendants did not comply with a discovery order from the later part of 19966. The trial court denied the motion on June 30, 1997. Four months later, on November 17, 1997, the plaintiffs moved for enforcement of the discovery order. On February 17, 1998, the trial court denied the motion and closed discovery, finding that the defendants had complied with their discovery obligations.

The trial docket also indicates that a hearing was held on January 28, 1998, regarding the motion for a preliminary injunction. A few weeks later, one of the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction and to amend the complaint. The outcomes of these motions are not indicated in the trial docket.

On October 13, 1998, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs responded the same day with a cross-motion for summary judgment.

One year later, on October 13, 1999, the trial court (Judge Charles M. Grabau) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the due process claim and denied summary judgment as to all other claims. The court also declared that the conditions of confinement in the East Wing units imposed an atypical and significant hardship and that the conditions were substantially similar to the conditions in the former Department Segregation Unit (DSU), where inmates used to be confined if they were found to pose a substantial threat to others or to security. Lastly, the court ordered that the defendants comply with the regulations controlling the former DSU before housing inmates in the East Wing units. 11 Mass. L. Rptr. 252.

The defendants appealed, and also moved on October 25, 1999, to stay the trial court's judgment. On March 9, 2000, the trial court stayed the paragraph of the October 13 decision that required compliance with the regulations controlling the former DSU (pending appellate review). The court also ordered for the rest of the judgment to be entered, finding no reason to delay doing so.

On October 10, 2002, the Supreme Judicial Court (Chief Justice Marshall) affirmed in part, holding that the DSU regulations apply to the East Wing blocks at MCI-CJ and must be obeyed. The appellate court also remanded the case to the trial court for determining the timing and manner of implementing the injunction, in light of the stay pending appeal. 437 Mass. 737 (2002); 776 N.E.2d 973.

There was a motion filed on October 16, 2002, with the trial court for reconsideration. The motion was denied on November 14, 2002. On December 30, 2002, the defendants moved to stay the order, and the trial court denied it.

The trial court issued an interim order on January 17, 2003, but then stayed the order pending further orders. We have no other information on this interim order beyond what is contained in the trial docket.

On February 7, 2003, the trial court (Justice Patrick J. King) ruled on the equal protection claim, granting equitable relief to prisoners in the form of good time credits. 2003 WL 25530367. The defendants' application for leave to take an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Justice Cordy of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The plaintiffs moved on February 23, 2003, to compel the defendants to make DSU regulations "readily accessible" for prisoners subject to DSU hearings. The court granted the motion on March 10, 2003.

The parties and trial court also agreed on a proposed order for compliance monitoring on March 3, 2003. A few days later, the defendants requested a partial stay, which the trial court granted.

On August 8, 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court (Justice Spina) found that the trial court was not authorized to award unearned good time credits as an equitable remedy, and remanded the case. 440 Mass. 1 (2003); 792 N.E.2d 989.

The defendants had submitted their first report on June 3, 2003, pursuant to the compliance monitoring, but then had to amend it in order to comply with court orders. The court received an amended version on December 31, 2003.

The trial docket contains less information about the remaining six years of the case, so we do not know many details.

On March 11, 2004, the trial court ruled on a motion from the plaintiffs for the defendants to not keep prisoners in the East Wing unless there was substantial evidence that they posed a threat to prison security.

The trial court ordered for entry of dismissal nisi on July 24, 2006. One month later, the parties jointly moved to vacate the order, which the court granted a week later.

In 2008, there were two petitions for contempt, which the trial court dismissed.

On February 26, 2009, the trial court issued an order for the parties to submit a status report indicating whether Longval v. Commissioner of Correction, 404 Mass. 325 (1989), was dispositive in this case and, if not, what remained to be done. According to the docket entry, the parties had indicated in status reports in 2007 that Longval might apply.

The case was dismissed on May 28, 2009.

Timothy Shoffner - 04/30/2013
Lauren Yu - 09/04/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Racial segregation
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Massachusetts
Plaintiff Description Due process class: "all prisoners who are now confined or may at some point be confined in any housing unit other than the Department Disciplinary Unit” at MCI-Cedar Junction. Equal protection class: "Hispanic inmates who have been or will in the future be assigned to the Plymouth housing units" at MCI-Cedar Junction.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1995 - 2009
Filed 06/30/1995
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
State Court of Appeals
02/03/2003
2003-J-0038
PC-MA-0028-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Supreme Court
09/10/2003
SJC-08951
PC-MA-0028-9002.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Supreme Court
11/05/2003
SJ-2003-0026
PC-MA-0028-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Trial Court
05/28/2009
9584CV03634
PC-MA-0028-9003.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
State Court of Appeals
07/14/1995
Memorandum and Rulings (1995 WL 17814072)
PC-MA-0028-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
State Court of Appeals
10/13/1999
Opinion (11 Mass. L. Rptr. 252)
PC-MA-0028-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
State Supreme Court
10/10/2002
Opinion (437 Mass. 737)
PC-MA-0028-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
State Court of Appeals
02/07/2003
Findings of Fact, Rulings of Law, and Order for Judgment (2003 WL 25530367)
PC-MA-0028-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
State Supreme Court
08/08/2003
Opinion (440 Mass. 1)
PC-MA-0028-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Chernoff, Paul Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-0005
King, Patrick J. (State Trial Court) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-0004
Marshall, Margaret H. (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-0001
Spina, Francis X (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barkow, Barry (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003
Berkowitz, Peter (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003
Goldstein, Amy Robin (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003
Kassel, Phillip J (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9000 | PC-MA-0028-9001 | PC-MA-0028-9002 | PC-MA-0028-9003
Salvesen, Douglas W. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003
White, Nancy Ankers (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9002
Defendant's Lawyers Berner, Joel J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9001 | PC-MA-0028-9002 | PC-MA-0028-9003
Daniele, Julie E (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003
Pingeon, James R. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9000 | PC-MA-0028-9002
Salzman, William D. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9000 | PC-MA-0028-9002
Slade, David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0028-9003

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