On February 26, 2009, inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility filed this class action lawsuit against Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and relevant officials under 42. U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by Southern Center for Human ...
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On February 26, 2009, inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility filed this class action lawsuit against Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and relevant officials under 42. U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) and private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that overcrowded facility resulted into serious physical violence and denial of plaintiff’s basic human needs. This, they alleged, violated the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive, monetary relief, as well as class action certification. The plaintiffs defined the class as “all persons who are now or will in the future be incarcerated at Donaldson Correctional Facility.”
This case was assigned to district Judge William Keith Watkins. After a year of engaging in discovery, the parties each moved for summary judgment in February 2010. Judge Watkins denied the motion for class certification without prejudice on September 16, 2010.
After a settlement conference on February 23, 2010, parties continued to engage in settlement negotiations and finally settled this case on April 19, 2011. The remedy included a payment of attorneys’ fees and costs of $66,860.10 to the plaintiffs’ counsel. The settlement agreement specifically required the ADOC officers to be physically present 24 hours per day in many of the prisons dorms and revise its use of force policy significantly. The ADOC agreed to end the practice of triple-bunking prisoners in cells built for two men and to solicit technical assistance from the National Institute of Corrections for help in reducing the presence of weapons and other contraband at Donaldson. The agreement required the ADOC to forward to SCHR documentation regarding violent incidents at Donaldson.
The court granted the parties’ joint motion to stay the case on April 20, 2011. The action was stayed for over a year to allow defendants to improve conditions at the prison. The plaintiffs did not file any motion to lift the stay. Judge Watkins dismissed this lawsuit without prejudice on March 30, 2012. Susie Choi - 03/08/2017