University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Montrey v. Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Department of Corrections PC-VA-0012
Docket / Court 3:07-cv-00476-REP ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Case Summary
On August 13, 2007, nine female prisoners at the Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Virginia filed this lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC), the superintendent, the chief security officer, and several guards. The plaintiffs filed their complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
On August 13, 2007, nine female prisoners at the Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Virginia filed this lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC), the superintendent, the chief security officer, and several guards. The plaintiffs filed their complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of their Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs asserted in their complaint that they were sexually harassed, assaulted and threatened with retaliation by prison officials. One plaintiff was impregnated by one of the guards during her incarceration. The plaintiffs claimed that the sexual assaults violated their protections against cruel and unusual punishment by invading their bodily integrity, using excessive force, inflicting emotional and physical pain, and risking the spread of disease.

The plaintiffs claimed that the superintendent and chief security officer were aware of the sexual abuse occurring in the prison and did nothing to stop it. They alleged that prisoners’ privileges were revoked when they refused sexual advances and were transferred to other facilities resulting in lost wages, loss of good time allowances. The plaintiffs’ cases were consolidated on January 29, 2008.

The plaintiffs sought general and punitive damages of ten million dollars and were represented by private counsel. The case was heard by Judge Robert E. Payne.

On October 29, 2007, the pro se defendant responsible for impregnating one of the prisoners confessed judgment in his official capacity only, admitting liability for ten million dollars. The VDOC objected. Judge Payne had already dismissed the case against the VDOC because of their state sovereign immunity from suits brought against them in federal court and because the VDOC was not a “person” for the purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff then dismissed her complaint against the defendant who impregnated her on January 17, 2008.

The plaintiffs filed several amended complaints, and the defense moved to dismiss each one unsuccessfully. The plaintiffs moved for default judgment against several of the defendants, but the order was denied as moot for failure to prosecute because the plaintiffs missed the hearings on the motion and never rescheduled.

A settlement conference was held on April 14, 2008 and a tentative settlement was reached. Throughout May and July of 2008 the settlement was approved and the case was dismissed on August 15, 2008. The terms of the settlement were confidential, except one plaintiff appealed to the judge for assistance with her attorney. The attorney guaranteed her a payment of $2,500 on the record.

Amanda Kenner - 02/04/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Sex discrimination
Assault/abuse by staff
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Virginia Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description 9 female inmates at Central Virginia Correctional Center Unit #13
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Order Duration 2007 - 2008
Filing Year 2007
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

3:07-cv-00476-REP (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
PC-VA-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2007
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal
PC-VA-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2008
Order (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2008
Third Amended Complaint
PC-VA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2008
show all people docs
Judges Payne, Robert E. (E.D. Va.) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0005 | PC-VA-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Bobby G. Jr. (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0004 | PC-VA-0012-9000
D'Lutz, Tara (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0001 | PC-VA-0012-9000
Shields, William G (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0002 | PC-VA-0012-0004 | PC-VA-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bromfield, Coreen Antoinette (Virginia) show/hide docs
Davis, Mark Ralph (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0004 | PC-VA-0012-9000
Gibney, John Adrian Jr. (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0001 | PC-VA-0012-0004 | PC-VA-0012-9000
McNelis, Edward J. III (Virginia) show/hide docs
PC-VA-0012-0001 | PC-VA-0012-0004 | PC-VA-0012-9000
Muldowney, Elizabeth Martin (Virginia) show/hide docs

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