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Case Name Maynor v. Morgan County, Ala. JC-AL-0020
Docket / Court 5:01-CV-00851-UWC ( N.D. Ala. )
Additional Docket(s) 09−10703−J  [ 09-10703 ]
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On April 5, 2001, attorneys with the Southern Center for Human Rights and private counsel filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Alabama, challenging the conditions of confinement at the Morgan County Jail. The jail, which was alleged ... read more >
On April 5, 2001, attorneys with the Southern Center for Human Rights and private counsel filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Alabama, challenging the conditions of confinement at the Morgan County Jail. The jail, which was alleged to have been old, antiquated, and structurally unfit for human habitation, housed both pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners. Plaintiffs alleged that the Jail was severely overcrowded and that inmates were subjected to uncivilized and hazardous conditions, which included inadequate medical care, poor sanitation and lack of fire safety. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification. Concurrent with the complaint, plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction.

After a hearing, on April 17, 2001, the District Court (Chief Judge U. W. Clemon) certified the case as a class action and entered a preliminary injunction. The Court noted the deplorable conditions at the Jail and found that the principle cause of the overcrowding was the State's failure to transfer "state [prison] ready'' inmates (convicted inmates that should have been serving sentences in State prisons). To rectify that failure, Judge Clemon ordered the State to present a plan to the Court for removal of all state ready inmates from the Jail. Maynor v. Morgan County, Ala. 147 F.Supp.2d 1185, 1186 (N.D. Ala. 2001).

On September 25, 2001, the District Court (Judge Clemon) made the injunction permanent and also approved a Consent Decree that was reached by the parties. The Decree provided for changes in housing and living conditions, health care and diet, security and fire safety and access to the courts. Defendants agreed to pay Plaintiffs' attorneys fees in the amount of $79,043.09 and also committed to pursue construction of a new jail facility.

The Court amended the Consent Decree on December 8, 2005, to require the development of a "Transition Plan," to address budget and staffing issues for the new Jail, which was under construction. In 2006, with the new Jail set to open, the Sheriff petitioned the Court to settle a dispute over the number of staff required for the new facility. By order dated, March 21, 2006, Judge Clemon interpreted the Consent Decree, as amended, to require a minimum staff of 88 officers.

On January 7, 2009, the Court entered a Civil Contempt Order based on evidence that the Sheriff had knowingly and willfully violated certain provisions of the Consent Decree. Violations included the consistent failure to provide nutritionally adequate meals to class members, and the failure to make available to class members legal materials specifically required by the Decree.

On January 27, 2009, the Court entered an order granting a motion to modify and clarify the Consent Decree. Paragraph 33 was amended to clarify which legal materials be made available to inmates and detainees. Paragraph 22 was also amended, further clarifying the nutritional guidelines to be used by Defendant in the feeding of inmates and detainees.

On December 7, 2009, the Sheriff sought review of the District Court's modification of the Consent Decree in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that the Decree as modified imposed upon him personal liability for feeding prisoners. The Court dismissed the appeal, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

There was no further activity for several years. Then, on Feb. 22, 2017, the plaintiffs moved for order requiring the Sheriff to show cause why she should not be held in contempt. The plaintiffs argued that the Sheriff violated certain provisions of the consent decree. They argued that the Sheriff "removed $160,000 from the Jail Food Account" in January 2017 and did not provide adequate documentation to explain why. The court granted this motion on June 8, 2017.

The Sheriff then moved to terminate the consent decree on June 27, 2017, arguing that "there is no current and ongoing violation of any Federal rights of the inmates...covered by said prospective relief and said prospective relief extends further than necessary to correct a violation of any such Federal right." A hearing was held in front of Judge Abdul Kallon on November 27, 2017.

The case is ongoing.

Dan Dalton - 07/26/2012
Virginia Weeks - 10/11/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Crowding / caseload
Post-PLRA Population Cap
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Morgan County
State of Alabama
Plaintiff Description All persons who are now or will be in the future confined in Morgan County Jail, including both convicted persons and pretrial detainees.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2001 - n/a
Filing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Alabama Sheriff Jailed For Starving Prisoners: States Cut Prisoner Meals
Date: Aug. 15, 2011
By: Gary Hunter (Prison Legal News)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

5:01-cv-00851-UWC (N.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint (Class Action) [ECF# 1]
JC-AL-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion - Preliminary Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (147 F.Supp.2d 1185) (N.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0020-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/17/2001
Source: Google Scholar
Consent Decree Applicable to the Plaintiff Class and the County Defendants [ECF# 45]
JC-AL-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Permanent Injunction [ECF# 46] (N.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion on the Defendant Sheriff's Motion for Instructions [ECF# 70] (N.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
JC-AL-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Status Report Regarding Activities of Task Force by Morgan County, AL, Larry Bennich, Jeff Clark, Don Stisher, Stacy George, Faye Sparkman (Including Supporting Affidavits) [ECF# 75]
JC-AL-0020-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
JC-AL-0020-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/07/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
JC-AL-0020-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama [Ct. of App. ECF# 111]
JC-AL-0020-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Eleventh Circuit)
Clemon, U. W. (N.D. Ala.)
JC-AL-0020-0002 | JC-AL-0020-0003 | JC-AL-0020-0004 | JC-AL-0020-0005 | JC-AL-0020-0006 | JC-AL-0020-0007 | JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Dubina, Joel Fredrick (M.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit)
Siler, Eugene Edward Jr. (E.D. Ky., W.D. Ky., Sixth Circuit)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bright, Stephen B. (Georgia)
JC-AL-0020-0001 | JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)
Kung, Lisa L. (Georgia)
JC-AL-0020-0001 | JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Littman, Aaron Michael (Georgia)
Redd, Crystal (Georgia)
Russell, John A. III (Alabama)
JC-AL-0020-0001 | JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Sealy, Brooke (Georgia)
Serwer, Tamara H. (Georgia)
JC-AL-0020-0001 | JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Shipman, Robert (Alabama)
JC-AL-0020-0009 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Velez, Melanie (Georgia)
Defendant's Lawyers Butler, Albert Sims (Alabama)
Langston, David W. (Alabama)
Lovelace, Barnes F. Jr. (Alabama)
Maclin, T. Mark (Alabama)
Redd, Andrew Weldon (Alabama)
Rhea, Donald R. (Alabama)
Royer, George W. Jr. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0020-0010 | JC-AL-0020-9000
Shinn, William Jr. (Alabama)
JC-AL-0020-0010 | JC-AL-0020-9000

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