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Case Name Richardson v. Monroe County Sheriff JC-IN-0020
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-00174 ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On February 13, 2008, a prisoner at the Monroe County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Monroe County. The plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Indiana, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, ... read more >
On February 13, 2008, a prisoner at the Monroe County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Monroe County. The plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Indiana, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of Indiana state law and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the living areas in the jail were grossly overcrowded, leading to unsanitary and dangerous living conditions.

The plaintiff claimed the existence of overcrowding that harmed prisoners. The prisoners were forced to sleep on the floor of a gymnasium. The facilities had only two showers and limited toilets for over 200 prisoners. The overcrowding led to increased tensions, frequently erupting into violence. Cell blocks and showers were unsanitary and food was served cold. Finally, there was so much crowding that there was no space to engage in walking or exercising during the day, and the prisoners were not taken for outdoor recreation.

On August 4, 2008, the District Court (Judge Richard Young) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiff's motion to certify the case as a class action, defining the class as “any and all persons currently confined, or who will in the future be confined, in the Monroe County Jail.” 2008 WL 3084766. The Court (Judge Young) found that although the plaintiff's individual claims for relief were moot, he had standing to represent the class.

On August 14, 2009, the parties entered a stipulation to a private settlement agreement under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants agreed to make reasonable efforts to continue to meet with the judges of the Monroe Circuit Court to discuss ways of keeping the jail population under its capacity. The defendants also agreed that if the population exceeded the number of available beds for a specified period of time, the jail would take reasonable steps, including informing the board of commissioners, transferring prisoners, and requesting orders to release prisoners to reduce the population. Additionally, the defendants agreed not to accept prisoners from other counties on a per diem basis and to only accept Monroe County prisoners that the jail was legally required to accept. Under the settlement, the prisoners were granted at least two hours each week of vigorous physical exercise and were guaranteed reasonable sleeping arrangements, requiring the jail to have stacking bunks when they run out of permanent beds. The parties also agreed to reporting requirements. Finally, defendants agreed to pay the plaintiff's attorneys fees and costs for $20,000. The parties agreed that absent a court order or written agreement, the settlement would remain in effect until October 1, 2011.

On September 30, 2011, the District Court (Judge Young) granted the plaintiff's motion to modify the parties' agreement and extend the private settlement agreement. The District Court (Judge Young) granted similar motions to modify the parties’ agreement and extend the private settlement agreement on October 1, 2012, September 18, 2014, and September 14, 2016, thereby extending the agreement to October 1, 2018. The October 1, 2018 extended the previous settlement agreement and additionally required a study as to whether a new jail facility was necessary.

On January 15, 2019, the Court acknowledged that the parties had once again extended their settlement agreement to January 14, 2021, and the court modified its past orders to provide that the parties move for dismissal of the case on January 14, 2021. As an additional condition on the settlement agreement, a study of the Monroe County criminal justice system and alternatives to incarceration was required. As of February 13, 2020, the case is ongoing.

Priyah Kaul - 09/22/2014
Emma Himes - 02/13/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Post-PLRA Population Cap
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Failure to supervise
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Bed care (including sores)
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Monroe County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Any and all persons currently confined, or who will in the future be confined, in the Monroe County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2009 - 2020
Filed 2008
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:08−cv−00174 (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-IN-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/13/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment and Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Case as Class Action [ECF# 28] (2008 WL 3084766) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0020-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/04/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Parties to Enter Into Private Settlement Agreement After Plaintiff's Counsel Gives Notice to the Class [ECF# 52]
JC-IN-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Finding Private Settlement Agreement to be Fair, Reasonable and Adequate Pursuant to Rule 23(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [ECF# 62] (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/03/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 82] (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-IN-0020-0005
Young, Richard L. (S.D. Ind.) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0020-0001 | JC-IN-0020-0004 | JC-IN-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0020-0002 | JC-IN-0020-0003 | JC-IN-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Semler, Ronald J (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0020-0003 | JC-IN-0020-9000
Stephenson, James S. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0020-9000

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