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Case Name Corbett v. Branker PC-NC-0012
Docket / Court 5:13-ct-03201-BO ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On July 26, 2010, a North Carolina prisoner filed this § 1983 lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina against officers and administers at the state-run Central Prison. On February 14, 2012, the Court (Judge Terrence W. Boyle) denied the state's motion for summary judgment. Due to the pro ... read more >
On July 26, 2010, a North Carolina prisoner filed this § 1983 lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina against officers and administers at the state-run Central Prison. On February 14, 2012, the Court (Judge Terrence W. Boyle) denied the state's motion for summary judgment. Due to the pro se plaintiff's inability to procure discovery, and the complexity of the issues, the court appointed North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services (NCPLS) to represent the plaintiff. On May 1, 2013, NCPLS filed an amended complaint, adding seven similarly situated North Carolina prisoners. The prisoners asked the court for damages, and injunctive and declaratory relief, claiming that the officers took advantage of a blind spot--one free from video surveillance--in one of the prison's hallways to commit malicious and sadistic assaults on the prisoners.

For years, prisoners housed on Central Prison's Unit One repeatedly reported the abuses through letters and litigation. This lawsuit sought to end the problem, seeking an injunction mandating installation of video surveillance cameras in the blind spot, and policies regarding retention of video footage and procedures for the investigation of officers' use of force. Because of years of discovery disputes and the bifurcated posture of the case, Judge Boyle ordered the original case (No. 5:10-ct-03135) closed on August 26, 2013 and opened a new case Corbett v. Branker, No. 5:13-ct-03201, with a beginning date of May 1, 2013--the date of the filing of the amended complaint in the old case.

On November 19, 2013, Judge Boyle appointed a special master to assist the court and the parties and to file reports with the court regarding the prison's compliance with future court orders. On March 17, 2014, Judge Boyle denied the state's motion to dismiss and dismissed the prisoners' motion for preliminary injunction.

On March 27, 2014 the parties stipulated to several of the special master's findings. The court placed the prison on notice that if it did not comply and implement the initial recommendations, a preliminary injunction would issue. On May 7, 2014, Magistrate Judge Robert Jones granted the prisoners' motion for a protective order against the prison officials.

The parties have initiated discovery at this time and the case is ongoing.

Alex Wharton - 01/02/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Restraints : physical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description Eight North Carolina prisoners
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Links Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Written: Jun. 04, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:10−ct−03135 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:13-ct-03201 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0012-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Form to be Used by a State Prisoner in Filing a Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-NC-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Investigation [ECF# 6] (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Damages, Injunction, and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 74]
PC-NC-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boyle, Terrence William Court not on record
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Finholt, Benjamin S. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Simpson, Elizabeth Guild (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-0004 | PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Strauss, David A. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-0004 | PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Goodson, Scott Bartley (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Harper, Lisa Y. (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Harrison, Jodi (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001
Regulski, Peter Andrew (North Carolina)
PC-NC-0012-9000 | PC-NC-0012-9001

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