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Case Name Miller v. Stewart [Brewer] PC-MI-0032
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-14164-SFC-SDD ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU of Michigan
Case Summary
On November 15, 2015, the plaintiff, a prisoner and former prisoner observation aid (POA) at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (Huron Valley), filed a claim against the warden of Huron Valley, as well as a corrections officer and another staff member at Huron Valley in the U.S ... read more >
On November 15, 2015, the plaintiff, a prisoner and former prisoner observation aid (POA) at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (Huron Valley), filed a claim against the warden of Huron Valley, as well as a corrections officer and another staff member at Huron Valley in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan. The claim was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. The case was presided over by Judge Sean F. Cox. The plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and private counsel, sought injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, monetary damages, and for the plaintiff to be reinstated as a POA at Huron Valley.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants fired her from her position as a POA in retaliation for reporting misconduct against two mentally ill prisoners to external professional advocates and organizations when her internal reports went unanswered and unresolved. Specifically, the plaintiff witnessed and reported the following: a mentally ill prisoner being “hog-tied” naked and left for an extended period of time screaming in pain, as well as another mentally ill prisoner whose water was intentionally cut off from her cell for multiple days and who later went into cardiac arrest after foaming at the mouth and vomiting from severe dehydration. In both instances, the plaintiff made repeated reports to appropriate officers and staff at Huron Valley, but these reports were ignored.

On June 1, 2018, the defendant's motioned for summary judgement. The motion was granted in part and denied in part on March 27, 2019. The court granted the summary judgement in favor of the defendant on the plaintiff's Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) claims, as well as her First Amendment retaliation claim as it pertained to monetary damages. The summary judgement was also denied in part in favor of the plaintiff with regard to the plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claims against the defendants in their official capacity.

The case was dismissed on July 26, 2019 after a settlement agreement was reached between the two parties. Through the settlement agreement, the plaintiff was awarded $6,000 in damages, the option to resume her position as a POA at Huron Valley, and the removal of any records of notations regarding the plaintiff’s initial termination. In addition to the relief awarded directly to the plaintiff, the defendants agreed to instate a new policy allowing POA’s to report misconduct to outside organizations if internal reports are ignored, a training for POA’s on this new policy, and a mandatory annual training given to prison officers and staff regarding prisoners with mental illness. Lastly, defendants agreed to pay $60,000 in attorney's fees.

Christiana Johnson - 10/04/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Confidentiality
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Prison warden, corrections officer, staff official
Plaintiff Description Individual who served as a prisoner observation aid (POA) at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Michigan
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:15-cv-14164 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0032-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MI-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting 3/1/19 Report and Recommendation [ECF# 97] (2019 WL 1375508) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0032-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/27/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement and Release [ECF# 119-1]
PC-MI-0032-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Parties' Stipulation to Dismiss Case Per Settlement Agreement [ECF# 119] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0032-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cox, Sean Francis (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0003 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burdick, Emily (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004
Cieslik, Kathleen A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Crawford, Jerome (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Irvine, Angelina Rose (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0001 | PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Quick, Daniel D. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Smialek, Chelsea M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Sobo, Alma (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0001 | PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Turbiak, Emily L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkman, Cori E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Long, James E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Powe, Douglas G. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Schneider, Clifton B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Thurber, John L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000
Waddell, Brandon W. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-0002 | PC-MI-0032-0004 | PC-MI-0032-9000
Other Lawyers Gordon, Gary P. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0032-9000

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