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Case Name Kress v. CCA of Tennessee JC-IN-0019
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-00431-LJM-DML ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On April 2, 2008, the female inmates of a private jail in Indianapolis, brought a class action lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), claiming the conditions of confinement and the medical care at a CCA facility in Indiana violated their Eighth Amendment rights.

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On April 2, 2008, the female inmates of a private jail in Indianapolis, brought a class action lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), claiming the conditions of confinement and the medical care at a CCA facility in Indiana violated their Eighth Amendment rights.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged violations of mail policies, availability and handling of grievances, medical care, and privacy of medical information at the jail. The plaintiffs emphasized that the jail provided inadequate medical care and exposed inmates to inhumane living conditions so egregious that they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

The prisoners were subjected to overcrowded living conditions in which upwards of 150 prisoners were forced to share a single toilet and sink; deprived of food and water for extended periods of time; housed in trash, mold and insect-infested living conditions; and required to reveal confidential medical information in the presence of other prisoners.

On June 12, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, defining their class as "any and all persons currently, or who will be in the future, confined in the jail facility."

On December 2010, the district court certified the class, but dismissed many of the claims filed in plaintiffs' complaint from class certification. Specifically, the court held they were entitled to proceed on the “inherently transitory” exception, in which the plaintiffs must show that "it is uncertain that a claim will remain live for any individual who could be named as a plaintiff long enough for a court to certify the class; and there will be a constant class of persons suffering the deprivation complained of in the complaint.”

The district court found that the plaintiffs met the test to proceed as a class for declaratory and injunctive relief. However, the court dismissed the individual plaintiffs’ claims because they were no longer incarcerated at the jail. A class defined as “any and all persons currently, or who will be in the future, confined to the jail" was certified by the district court.

The dismissed issues included claims that the jail failed to provide adequate medical care, personal and legal mail, record claims, and that the conditions of confinement inside the jail were inhumane, and that the procedures in the jail violated inmates' rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA").

The court allowed three class claims to proceed: The Unsafe Conditions Count alleged the presence of mold and insect infestations, inadequate security staffing, and broken heating and air conditioning systems in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Privacy Count alleged violations of HIPAA’s medical privacy provisions because two prisoners were in the same room at the same time when they were questioned about their medical history. Finally, the Incentives Count alleged “that CCA paid its administrators financial incentives to encourage them to treat fewer medical patients, decline to report errors, and generally report more favorable conditions than were in fact present” at the jail.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied on January 25, 2011.

On January 28, 2011, CCA moved for summary judgment on the remaining issues, and on April 13, 2011, the district court granted their motion as to the three remaining class-action claims and dismissed the case in its entirety.

In regard to the HIPAA claims, the court found that “HIPAA does not grant a private right of action.” Thus, those claims were dismissed. As for the plaintiffs’ Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, the district court held that it would consider the claims in light of conditions at the jail as they currently exist, not as they existed in 2008 when the lawsuit was filed.

The plaintiffs sought review of the court's decision to deny their class certification for their claim regarding CCA's reduction of daily pill calls for inmates from three times a day to two times a day; the court's order granting summary judgment in favor of CCA regarding conditions of confinement, and the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion to amend the judgment claiming the district court erred on the evidentiary standard to create a constitutional violation.

On August 24, 2011, the plaintiffs filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

On September 14, 2012, the Seventh Circuit upheld the district court’s finding that the plaintiffs had failed to satisfy the class certification typicality requirement for claims challenging CCA’s reduction of medication calls from three to two times a day. The Court also affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to CCA, noting that CCA had “presented an affidavit from 2011 in which the jail warden testified that measures had been taken to remedy the ... problems in 2008 and 2009, after plaintiffs had left the jail.” The plaintiffs failed to offer evidence that such remedial measures had not been taken and, therefore, failed to establish an ongoing constitutional violation warranting injunctive relief. 694 F.3d 890, Sept. 14, 2012.

This case is now closed.

Kya Henley - 04/03/2014
Ginny Lee - 04/10/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Grievance Procedures
Mail
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) CCA of Tennessee
Plaintiff Description Female inmates of a private prison
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Order Duration 2008 - 2012
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:08-cv-00431-LJM-DML (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-IN-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/02/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 17]
JC-IN-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify State Law Questions [ECF# 43] (2008 WL 4627828) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/17/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider or Clarify [ECF# 49] (2008 WL 4906156) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/14/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Motions to Disqualify [ECF# 52] (2008 WL 5216018) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/11/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion & Order on Defendants' Affirmative Defense [ECF# 85] (2010 WL 2694986) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/02/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for the Entry of an Injunction [ECF# 109] (2010 WL 4751584) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/16/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 111] (272 F.R.D. 222) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/01/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration of Order of Class Certification as to Faculty-Wide Order to Eliminate Third Pill Call Round [ECF# 121] (2011 WL 304648) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/25/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 132] (2011 WL 1434680) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/13/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend Judgment and Petition for Attorneys' Fees [ECF# 139] (2011 WL 3154804) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/26/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment [USCA Affirming Judgment of District Court] [Ct. of App. ECF# 159] (694 F.3d 890)
JC-IN-0019-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/14/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bauer, William Joseph Court not on record
JC-IN-0019-0012
Hamilton, David Frank Court not on record
JC-IN-0019-0003 | JC-IN-0019-0004 | JC-IN-0019-0005
Lynch, Debra McVicker (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0019-9000
McKinney, Larry J. Court not on record
JC-IN-0019-0006 | JC-IN-0019-0007 | JC-IN-0019-0008 | JC-IN-0019-0009 | JC-IN-0019-0010 | JC-IN-0019-0011 | JC-IN-0019-9000
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond Court not on record
JC-IN-0019-0012
Sykes, Diane S. Court not on record
JC-IN-0019-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lenkowsky, Adam (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-0001 | JC-IN-0019-9000
Ogden, Paul K (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-0001 | JC-IN-0019-0002 | JC-IN-0019-9000
Roberts, Kenneth T (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-0001 | JC-IN-0019-9000
Roberts, Tasha Rebecca (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-0001 | JC-IN-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hahn, William A (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-9000
Overholt, Anthony W. (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-9000
Rosiello, Michael (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-9000
Springer, Jennifer Lynn Haley (Indiana)
JC-IN-0019-9000

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