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Case Name Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission v. Commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction MH-IN-0002
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-01317-TWP-MJD ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
On Oct. 1, 2008, the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission (IPAS) filed this lawsuit on behalf of a group of prisoners with serious mental illness in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. IPAS, represented by the ACLU, proceeded under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ... read more >
On Oct. 1, 2008, the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission (IPAS) filed this lawsuit on behalf of a group of prisoners with serious mental illness in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. IPAS, represented by the ACLU, proceeded under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), asking the court for injunctive and declaratory relief. IPAS alleged that IDOC failed to adequately treat the prisoners in non-segregated and therapeutic environments, as required by the Eighth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act.

Specifically, IPAS claimed that mentally ill prisoners were regularly held in isolation at multiple prisons throughout the state, and, for a number of them, the only contact they had with mental health staff was through brief conversations at their cell doors. The continued confinement of these mentally ill prisoners without adequate mental health care, IPAS argued, violated the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment. Additionally, by placing these prisoners in segregated and isolated confinement, the state discriminated against them in violation of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act.

IPAS is an agency created by Indiana state law pursuant to the federal Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act. It is charged with advocating for and protecting the rights and interests of, among other parties, individuals with mental illness. IPAS claimed in its complaint that, because of its unique role in protecting the interests of mentally ill adults in Indiana, it has standing to bring suit on their behalf.

On December 15, 2008, IDOC filed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing and jurisdiction; the state argued that IPAS's complaint presented only an "intramural" dispute between two state agencies, and should be resolved by the governor. On July 21, 2009, the court (Judge David F. Hamilton) denied IDOC's motion. It held that the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act empowered IPAS to sue on behalf of its mentally ill constituents; and the organization also satisfied the constitutional criteria for standing. The court also held that IPAS was not a traditional state agency and was independent of the governor. 642 F.Supp.2d 872.

On December 2, 2009, IPAS filed an amended complaint seeking class certification for all mentally ill prisoners in Indiana housed in settings that feature extended periods of isolation in cells. On April 27, 2010, the court (Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson) granted IPAS's motion to certify the class. 2010 WL 1737821.

On July 25, 2011, after some discovery disputes (see 603 F.3d 365), a bench trial commenced before Judge Tanya Walton Pratt; it lasted five days. On December 31, 2012, the court filed an entry following the bench trial. It found that segregation harms mentally ill prisoners in three ways: (1) the lack of social interaction itself creates problems associated with isolation; (2) the isolation involves significant sensory deprivation; and (3) the enforced idleness exacerbates the prisoners' symptoms of serious mental illness. The court went on to find that the mentally ill prisoners in IDOC segregation units do not receive minimally adequate mental health care and that IDOC has been deliberately indifferent regarding this care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court then scheduled a conference with both parties to establish an appropriate remedy to the constitutional violation. 2012e WL 6738517.

From 2013-2016, the parties met to develop a plan for IDOC to remedy the constitutional violations found by the court. They entered status reports periodically throughout the years.

On January 2, 2016, the parties proposed a settlement agreement that prohibited, with some exceptions, the confinement of seriously mentally ill prisoners in restrictive status housing or protective custody (i.e., solitary confinement). As a general rule, no prisoner who was seriously mentally ill would be placed into restrictive housing. The agreement defined severe mental illness to include people who entered solitary with less than severe mental illnesses but whose mental health deteriorated due to solitary. And, the agreement provided for "minimum adequate treatment" for these prisoners. IDOC also agreed to pay $585,000 in attorneys' fees. The agreement would last for three years.

On March 24, 2016, Judge Pratt approved the settlement agreement finding that it was “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” The court was to retain jurisdiction over the case for three years at the conclusion of which the case will be dismissed without prejudice.

On October 16, 2018, a class member filed a motion to order contempt of court, alleging that IDOC failed to comply with the settlement agreement. On October 18, 2018, Judge Pratt denied the motion, finding that no defendant was in contempt. The enforcement period is ongoing.

Andrew Junker - 10/09/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 02/05/2016
Hope Brinn - 11/17/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in mental health facilities
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10801
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Indiana
Plaintiff Description A state agency charged by federal statute to advocate for and protect the interests of mentally ill adults in Indiana. Also the class of prisoners in Indiana with serious mental illness.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Filing Year 2008
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:08-cv-01317-dfh-jms (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
MH-IN-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 22]
MH-IN-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Case Management Plan [ECF# 43]
MH-IN-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 58] (642 F.Supp.2d 872) (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/21/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 75]
MH-IN-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Individual Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class] (2010 WL 1737821) (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/27/2010
Source: Westlaw
Qualified Protective Order Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Indiana Statutes [ECF# 120] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Parties' Joint Motion Allowing Disclosure of Identities of Interviewees and Providing for a Protective Order] [ECF# 153] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion for Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis] [ECF# 170] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/28/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry Discussing Motion filed by Leroy Jeffers [ECF# 262] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry Discussing Motion Filed by Leroy Jeffers [ECF# 273] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry Following Bench Trial [ECF# 279] (2012 WL 6738517) (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation to Enter Into Private Settlement Agreement Following Notice to the Class and Fairness Hearing [ECF# 496]
MH-IN-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Finding Private Settlement Agreement to be Fair, Reasonable and Adequate Pursuant to Rule 23(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Final Judgment Dismissing Action Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) Incorporating Private Settlement Agreement [ECF# 509] (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
MH-IN-0002-9000
Hamilton, David Frank (S.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit)
MH-IN-0002-0004
Lynch, Debra McVicker (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
MH-IN-0002-0008
Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
MH-IN-0002-0003 | MH-IN-0002-0006 | MH-IN-0002-0007
Pratt, Tanya Walton (S.D. Ind.)
MH-IN-0002-0009 | MH-IN-0002-0010 | MH-IN-0002-0011 | MH-IN-0002-0012 | MH-IN-0002-0014 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crishon, Thomas E. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Davis, Karen T. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Dial, Debra Jean (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Keyes, Melissa (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Mensz, Jan P. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Ricks, Gary W. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Rose, Gavin Minor (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Smith, David Ross (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0001 | MH-IN-0002-0005 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Arthur, David A. (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0002 | MH-IN-0002-0013 | MH-IN-0002-9000
Carter, Stephen (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0002
Quigley, Thomas D (Indiana)
MH-IN-0002-0013

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