University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cain v. Michigan Department of Corrections PC-MI-0027
Docket / Court 88-61119-AZ ( State Court )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
In 1988, a group of Michigan prisoners filed this class-action lawsuit under state law in the Michigan Court of Claims against the Michigan Department of Corrections. The lawsuit grew out of the 1983 riots at Marquette Branch Prison, the Michigan Reformatory, and the Central Complex of the State ... read more >
In 1988, a group of Michigan prisoners filed this class-action lawsuit under state law in the Michigan Court of Claims against the Michigan Department of Corrections. The lawsuit grew out of the 1983 riots at Marquette Branch Prison, the Michigan Reformatory, and the Central Complex of the State Prison of Southern Michigan. There were a bunch of issues, including provisions for reimbursing prisoners who lost property during the riots. The prisoners initially pursued the litigation without counsel; Prison Legal Services of Michigan (PLSM) later became involved. PLSM moved into a trailer on prison grounds in order to be close to their clients, but were ordered to leave in late 2002 by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

After a protracted legal battle that moved slowly through the Michigan state court system, the parties reached a settlement on November 4, 2003. The settlement covered five areas: Classification, Personal Typewriters, Access To The Courts, Security Threat Group Claims and Miscellaneous Issues. Under the terms of the settlement, the parties agreed on appropriate classification and psychiatric services, plus restrictions on administrative segregation that exacerbates serious psychological illness. In addition to retaining personal word processors, prisoners also attained expanded law libraries with 25 hour/week access and adequate photocopies, prompt legal mail processing, longer attorney phone calls, and protective winter clothing.

All provisions of the Agreements were subject to dispute resolution under the auspices of Judge Michael G. Harrison. Monitoring appeared to be ongoing in early 2009; there is no further noted activity as of May 2015.

Kristen Sagar - 03/03/2009
Anna Dimon - 05/14/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Law library access
Loss or damage to property
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Michigan Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates of Michigan state prisons.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - n/a
Filed 1988
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Agreement to Resolve Plaintiffs' Claims Regarding Classification
PC-MI-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 214-2]
PC-MI-0027-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/1989
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Disposition (500 N.W.2d 471)
PC-MI-0027-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/29/1993
Source: Westlaw
Disposition (527 N.W.2d 517)
PC-MI-0027-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/28/1994
Source: Westlaw
Decision (534 N.W.2d 521)
PC-MI-0027-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/17/1995
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (548 N.W.2d 210)
PC-MI-0027-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/21/1996
Source: Westlaw
Decision (584 N.W.2d 922)
PC-MI-0027-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/09/1998
Source: Westlaw
Decision (584 N.W.2d 736)
PC-MI-0027-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/28/1998
Source: Westlaw
Decision (618 N.W.2d 766)
PC-MI-0027-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/27/2000
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (657 N.W.2d 799)
PC-MI-0027-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/27/2002
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (657 N.W.2d 718)
PC-MI-0027-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/19/2003
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Boyle, Patricia Jean Ehrhardt Pernick (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
Brickley, James (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Cavanagh, Michael F. Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-MI-0027-0002 | PC-MI-0027-0005
Giddings, James R. (State Trial Court) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0027-0001 | PC-MI-0027-0009
Kelly, Marilyn (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Levin, Charles L. (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Mallett, Conrad L. (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Riley, Dorothy (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Weaver, Elizabeth A. (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ewing, John Chandler (Michigan) show/hide docs
Girard, Sandra (Michigan) show/hide docs
Labelle, Deborah A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
MIzell, Elton Floyd (Michigan) show/hide docs
Moore, C. Pepper (Michigan) show/hide docs
Snow, Charlene M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0027-0005 | PC-MI-0027-0009
Walen, Raymond C. Jr. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Casey, Thomas L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Govorchin, A. Peter (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0027-0001 | PC-MI-0027-0005 | PC-MI-0027-0009
Kelley, Frank J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Soros, Allan J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Adkins, James D (Michigan) show/hide docs
Baird, Thomas A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Boyle, Kathleen Corkin (Michigan) show/hide docs
Bush, Neal (Michigan) show/hide docs
Granzotto, Mark (Michigan) show/hide docs
Meyers, Jeffrey T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Minock, John R. (Michigan) show/hide docs
Shaw, Richard E (Michigan) show/hide docs

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