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Case Name Kelly v. Corrections Corporation of America PC-ID-0007
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00185-EJL ( D. Idaho )
Additional Docket(s) 09-cv-00010  [ 09-10 ]  District of ID (U.S.)
State/Territory Idaho
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
This case sprang from Riggs v. Rodriguez (docket #: 1:09-cv-00010-EJL), which Riggs filed pro se seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the Correction Corporation of America's (CCA) alleged failure to prevent his assault and provide adequate medical treatment. Lawyers from the American Civil ... read more >
This case sprang from Riggs v. Rodriguez (docket #: 1:09-cv-00010-EJL), which Riggs filed pro se seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the Correction Corporation of America's (CCA) alleged failure to prevent his assault and provide adequate medical treatment. Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed to take his case and filed an amended complaint that added a class action lawsuit seeking only injunctive relief with several new named plaintiffs. After a series of disputes about whether the class action and Riggs' case should proceed together, the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit moved to sever their case from the monetary claims. The court granted their motion on April 27, 2011 and allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint that same day which serves as the basis for this lawsuit. This case was assigned to Judge Edward J. Lodge and referred to Judge David O. Carter for settlement negotiations.

Eight inmates at Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of all those who were or would be imprisoned at ICC. Claiming their 8th and 14th Amendment rights to be protected against assault from other prisoners had been violated in pursuit of profit, the plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that CCA created a substantial and unnecessary risk of assault and failed to protect inmates against assault because of the following practices: running the prison near or above full capacity, hiring inadequate numbers of staff to supervise and protect inmates, employing poor training, failing to investigate and provide a report for each incident, threatening to and intentionally placing inmates near particularly violent/predatory individuals (often to force an inmate to be an informant), ignoring inmates' requests to be moved, failing to discipline or refer for prosecution prisoners who assaulted other inmates, failing to investigate and discipline staff whose actions caused or contributed to assaults, and concealing institutional problems with violence by issuing disciplinary citations to victims of assault, and refusing to take x-rays or perform other medical tests that would reveal the extent of inmates' injuries.

The parties came to a settlement agreement on September 16, 2011. The agreement was filed with the court and entered on September 20, 2011 along with a voluntary dismissal of all claims with prejudice. The agreement provided for a variety of reporting, investigating, training, and staffing requirements. Several of the provisions required CCA to meet the terms of its contract and follow Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) Standard Operating Procedures, though some provisions required CCA to exceed them. The terms also required CCA to make housing assignments based on all relevant safety considerations, to place inmates who claimed to be at risk of assault into appropriate housing, and refer all cases that appeared to be serious enough to qualify as aggravated battery to the county sheriff. Attorneys' fees and costs were confidential under the agreement, which was to last for 2 years. The court retained jurisdiction under the agreement as a last resort to resolve disputes.

Between December 2012 and January 2013, CCA and IDOC received reports that staffing records at ICC had been falsified during the post-settlement period. IDOC initiated an audit of ICC’s staffing records and CCA hired an investigator. On April 11, 2013, IDOC issued a press release, stating that CCA’s employees had falsified staffing records to represent that correctional officers were staffing mandatory security posts when those posts had in fact been vacant for a total of nearly 4,800 hours during a seven-month period in 2012. That same day, CCA issued its own press release stating there were “some inaccuracies” in its staffing records.

On February 21, 2013, the parties amended the stipulation. The court adopted the amendment on March 1, 2013. The amendment provided for the appointment of an independent investigator and shifted reviewing duties to the investigator. The amendment also required the investigator to examine at least 30% of the monthly reports and report on whether they were complete or deficient.

In June 2013, the plaintiffs moved in the district court for an order to show cause as to why CCA should not be held in contempt for violating the court’s dismissal order. The district court referred the motion to Judge Carter, sitting by special designation in the District of Idaho. CCA opposed the motion, partly on the ground that the district court did not have jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. The district court held it had jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement and issued the requested order.

On September 16, 2013, Judge Carter held the defendants in contempt for violating the settlement agreement and extended the settlement by two years. 979 F. Supp. 2d 1104. The defendants appealed.

On February 20, 2014, the court approved the plaintiffs' motion for attorneys’ fees. 7 F. Supp. 3d 1069. The plaintiffs were awarded $349,018.52 in fees and costs. The defendants appealed this ruling as well.

On May 23, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed both the contempt finding and the attorneys’ fees in a unanimous opinion by Judge William Fletcher (joined by Judges Fisher and Wilken). 822 F.3d 1085. The court reasoned that the contempt finding was warranted because CCA did not take all reasonable steps to comply with the order, as is required by well-established law, and because the contempt finding was civil in nature, and therefore did not require procedural safeguards applicable in criminal proceedings. The court deemed the extension of the settlement agreement within the district court’s power. The court further concluded that the attorneys’ fees award did not violate the PLRA.

The defendants petitioned for a rehearing en banc. On July 7, 2016, the Court of Appeals denied the petition.

On August 25, 2016, the appellee’s motion for attorneys’ fees was referred to Appellate Commissioner Peter L. Shaw. Appellants did not dispute appellee’s eligibility for fees, but did dispute the reasonableness of the requested hours and fees amount. On August 29, the motion for fees was referred to the Circuit Mediator. On October 24, 2016, the court issued an order stating that the parties informed the court that they had resolved the motion for attorneys’ fees. The order did not contain information about the fees amount.

This case is now closed.

Kenneth Gray - 07/10/2013
Katherine Reineck - 02/14/2016
Julie Singer - 03/06/2017
Hannah Greenhouse - 03/21/2019

compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Crowding / caseload
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Protective custody
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Corrections Corporation of America
Plaintiff Description Eight inmates who had at various times been assaulted by other inmates at the Idaho Correctional Center filing on behalf of themselves and similarly situated individuals
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Denied
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2011 - 2015
Filed 04/27/2011
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
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Court Docket(s)
D. Idaho
PC-ID-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Idaho
Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 143-2]
PC-ID-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Idaho
Memorandum Order [ECF# 2]
PC-ID-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Idaho
Stipulation for Dismissal (with Consent Decree) [ECF# 25]
PC-ID-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Idaho
Order for Dismissal [ECF# 26]
PC-ID-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Idaho
Memorandum Decision and Order [ECF# 56] (979 F.Supp.2d 1237)
PC-ID-0007-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
D. Idaho
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 76] (979 F.Supp.2d 1104)
PC-ID-0007-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Idaho
Order Granting Attorney Fees [ECF# 129] (7 F.Supp.3d 1069)
PC-ID-0007-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (822 F.3d 1085)
PC-ID-0007-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Carter, David O. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0006 | PC-ID-0007-0007 | PC-ID-0007-0008 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Fletcher, William A. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Lodge, Edward J. (D. Idaho) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0002 | PC-ID-0007-0004 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cooper, Lea C. (Idaho) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-0003 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Eppink, Richard Allen (Idaho) show/hide docs
Huegli, James D (Idaho) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-0003 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Pevar, Stephen L. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-0003 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bojanowski, Timothy J (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Burger, Gary Harold (Arizona) show/hide docs
Naylor, Kirtlan G. (Idaho) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Popolizio, Joseph John (Arizona) show/hide docs
Stoll, James R. (Idaho) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Wahlin, Lisa S. (Arizona) show/hide docs
Zoellner, Tara B. (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-ID-0007-0001 | PC-ID-0007-9000
Other Lawyers Brown, Charles A. (Idaho) show/hide docs
Shulz, David A. (New York) show/hide docs
Zansberg, Steven David (Colorado) show/hide docs

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