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Case Name Friedmann v. Corrections Corporation of America PC-TN-0013
Docket / Court 08-1105-I ( State Court )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
The Clearinghouse does not have access to a docket for this case. Information on this case comes from the petition, available court opinions, and articles from the Prison Legal News.

On May 19, 2008, an associate editor for the Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a petition under Tennessee’s ... read more >
The Clearinghouse does not have access to a docket for this case. Information on this case comes from the petition, available court opinions, and articles from the Prison Legal News.

On May 19, 2008, an associate editor for the Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a petition under Tennessee’s public records law, seeking access to various documents in possession of the defendant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private correctional service operating several facilities in Tennessee, in the Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tennessee. The plaintiff was also a former CCA prisoner. Prior to filing the suit, the plaintiff sent CCA a public records request for documents related to CCA’s operation of prison and jails in Tennessee that CCA denied. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought attorney’s fees and injunctive relief ordering the defendant to grant him access to the records.

On July 29, 2008, the Chancery Court (Chancellor Claudia C. Bonnyman) held, for the first time, that the defendant was subject to public records laws because the private prison company was the functional equivalent of a government agency. The court ordered the defendant to produce the requested records. CCA appealed. Joined by various journalist organizations, such as the Associated Press, the ACLU of Tennessee filed an amicus brief in support of the position that CCA was the functional equivalent of a government agency and should be treated as such for public records purposes.

On August 5, 2009, the Tennessee Court of Appeals (Judges D. Michael Swiney, Herschel P. Franks, and John W. McClarty) affirmed that CCA was the functional equivalent of a government agency and subject to public records law. 2009 WL 2407755. Following a motion to rehear, the Court of Appeals issued a revised ruling on September 16, 2009 and clarified that the records requested by PLN were subject to disclosure for all but one of CCA’s Tennessee facilities. 310 S.W.3d 366. The Court of Appeals then remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings to determine which of the requested documents fell within the statutory definition of public records. The Supreme Court of Tennessee denied review on March 1, 2010.

On remand, CCA argued that the settlement agreements and settlement reports did not fall within the statutory definition of public records and were confidential because they were the attorney’s work product. On December 1, 2011, the Chancery Court held that both the settlement agreements and reports were public records. The Chancery Court ordered CCA to produce the settlement agreements and report. The Chancery Court awarded attorney’s fees of $28,367.50 because CCA had acted in bad faith in refusing to disclose the settlement agreements.

Again, CCA appealed, and on February 28, 2013, the Court of Appeals (Judges Frank G. Clement, Jr., Patricia J. Cottrell, and Richard H. Dinkins) held that the settlement agreements were public records and that CCA was required to produce the settlement agreements related to the operation of the correctional facilities. 2013 WL 784584. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial court’s award of $28,367.50 in attorney’s fees. In addition, the Court of Appeals ordered CCA to pay attorney's fees and expenses incurred on appeal to the extent that the fees pertained to the settlement agreements, but not the settlement reports. The Court of Appeals remanded the case for a final determination of the total amount of attorney’s fees.

Following remand, in May 2013, Prison Legal News reported that CCA paid negotiated attorney’s fees of $50,000. As of August 13, 2019, there has been no further reported activity on this case, and presumably, the case is now closed.

Kristen Sagar - 08/01/2008
Averyn Lee - 06/10/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Corrections Corporation of America
Plaintiff Description An associate editor for the 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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2008
Case Closing Year 2013
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 ]

  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Petition for Access to Public Records and to Obtain Judicial Review of Denial of Access
PC-TN-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2008
Source: Prison Legal News
Transcript of Proceedings [and order read by the judge]
PC-TN-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/29/2008
Source: Prison Legal News
Brief of Amici Curiae the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors
PC-TN-0013-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2009
Source: ACLU
Opinion (310 S.W.3d 366)
PC-TN-0013-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/16/2009
Source: State Court Website
Opinion (2013 WL 784584)
PC-TN-0013-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/28/2013
Source: State Court Website
show all people docs
Judges Bonnyman, Claudia (State Trial Court) show/hide docs
Clement, Frank G. Jr. (State Appellate Court) show/hide docs
Swiney, D. Michael Court not on record show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allman, Andrew L (Tennessee) show/hide docs
Clarke, Andrew C. (Tennessee) show/hide docs
PC-TN-0013-0001 | PC-TN-0013-0002
Kramer, Scott A. (Tennessee) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Callen, Jason (Tennessee) show/hide docs
Welborn, Joseph F III (Tennessee) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Herzfeld, Tricia (Tennessee) show/hide docs

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