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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Fulton County, GA JC-GA-0033
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-02618-CAP ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On October 22, 2007, the Prison Legal News (PLN) filed suit against Fulton County and its sheriffs under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. It challenged the Fulton County Jail mail policy that barred prisoners' receipt of any and all books, ... read more >
On October 22, 2007, the Prison Legal News (PLN) filed suit against Fulton County and its sheriffs under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. It challenged the Fulton County Jail mail policy that barred prisoners' receipt of any and all books, magazines, and newspapers (other than religious publications). PLN claimed that the jail's policy violated the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process, as well as Georgia state law. PLN further claimed that the mail policy had previously been declared unconstitutional in the case Daker v. Barrett, No. 1:00-CV-1065-RWS (N.D. Ga. July 22, 2002). PLN sought declaratory and injunctive relief, barring enforcement of the mail policy. The case was assigned to Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr.

Fulton County denied that the mail policy was unconstitutional. On December 18, 2007, PLN moved for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the continued enforcement of the mail policy. Two days later, Fulton County Sheriff instituted a modified mail policy and claimed that the case was moot in light of the new policy.

After hearings on the motion, the court entered a preliminary injunction on February 4, 2008, enjoining enforcement of the old mail policy and requiring that the new mail policy remain in effect. Fulton County was also ordered to notify PLN of any changes made to the new mail policy. Under the new mail policy, the Jail permitted PLN subscriptions to be delivered to imprisoned subscribers.

On March 25, 2008, PLN filed an amended complaint to reflect the changes brought about by the preliminary injunction. The amended complaint refers to the mail policy originally at issue in the case as the former policy and requests declaratory and injunctive relief in the form of an order requiring the defendants to comply with the new, current policy as amended by the parties in settlement negotiations.

On September 2, 2008, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment with regard to the individual liability for nominal damages against the defendant sheriff, an agent of the county. On July 13, 2009, the court denied in part and granted in part the defendant’s motion for summary judgment: it granted the motion as to the injunctive and declaratory relief but denied the motion as it relates to damages against the sheriff in his individual capacity. The court denied PLN’s cross-motion for partial summary judgement.

After what can only be assumed to be settlement negotiations, on November 9, 2009, the court ordered a consent judgment, entering judgment on behalf of the plaintiff and against the defendant in an amont of $30,000. Later that month, PLN filed a motion for costs and fees that the court granted, awarding to the plaintiff $119,759.21. The case is closed.

On April 26, 2016, pursuant to the 2008 order, the defendant provided notice to the court to a proposed change to the mail policy whereby the prison would only allow post-card mailing in order to curtail the flow on contraband through the mailing system. On June 24, 2016, PLN filed a notice of objection to Fulton County’s unilateral change to the court ordered mail policy. The docket ends in January 2017. We do not know how this issue resolved.

Dan Dalton - 02/11/2008
Jake Parker - 05/23/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) Fulton County Sheriff
Fulton County, GA
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2007
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:07-cv-02618-CAP (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-GA-0033-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/22/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Minute Sheet for proceedings held In Open Court on 01/31/2008 [ECF# 15]
JC-GA-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2008
Order [ECF# 16] (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/04/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Prison Legal News v. Fulton County - Amended Complaint [ECF# 21]
JC-GA-0033-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion [and Attached Consent Order] Approving Proposed Changes to Fulton County Sheriff's Department Jail Bureau Policies and Procedures 3000-01 [ECF# 25] (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 73] (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Judgment [ECF# 83] (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 98] (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/17/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Pannell, Charles A. Jr. (N.D. Ga.)
JC-GA-0033-0002 | JC-GA-0033-0003 | JC-GA-0033-0004 | JC-GA-0033-0006 | JC-GA-0033-0007 | JC-GA-0033-0008 | JC-GA-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Spears, George Brian (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-0001 | JC-GA-0033-0002 | JC-GA-0033-0004 | JC-GA-0033-0005 | JC-GA-0033-9000
Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-0001 | JC-GA-0033-0002 | JC-GA-0033-0004 | JC-GA-0033-0005 | JC-GA-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dancy, Rolesia Butler (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-0002 | JC-GA-0033-9000
McDonald, Nikisha L. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-9000
Nkumeh, Nwakaego Ijeoma (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-0004 | JC-GA-0033-9000
Okparaeke, Nwakaego Ijeoma (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-0002
Rosenberg, Steven E. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0033-9000

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