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Case Name United States v. Erie County JC-NY-0059
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-00849-WMS-JJM ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On September 30, 2009, following a two year investigation, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 (CRIPA) against Erie County. The DOJ asked the ... read more >
On September 30, 2009, following a two year investigation, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 (CRIPA) against Erie County. The DOJ asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that confinement conditions at Erie County Holding Center (ECHC) and the Erie County Correction Facility (ECCF) violated the federal constitutional rights of inmates incarcerated there. The complaint and the attached findings letter detailed the defendants' alleged failures in the areas of protection from harm, environmental safety, medical care, mental health care, and suicide prevention.

The court (Judge William M. Skretny) ordered expedited discovery related to suicide prevention and mental health treatment protocols at ECHC. 2010 WL 986505 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 17, 2010). The court subsequently granted additional motions to expedite discovery, granted in part and denied in part the plaintiff's motion to compel, and granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for a protective order. 2010 WL 1038650 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2010).

On June 22, 2010, the court approved the parties' stipulated settlement agreement concerning only the suicide prevention and related mental health claims. As part of this stipulation, the parties agreed to select a Joint Compliance Officer (JCO) with relevant experience in the field of corrections, mental health care, suicide prevention, or medical care, to file with the court and provide the parties with reports evaluating the extent to which the defendants were in compliance with each substantive provision of the settlement. These reports were to be issued every four months, after a two-week comment period afforded to the parties.

On July 9, 2010, the court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that CRIPA was not unconstitutional as applied to the defendants. However, despite technical compliance, the original complaint violated the spirit underlying Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Consequently, the court ordered the DOJ to file an amended complaint within 14 days. 724 F. Supp. 2d 357 (W.D.N.Y. 2010). On July 23, 2010, the DOJ filed an amended complaint.

On August 25, 2011, the court ordered a stipulated dismissal of the action agreed upon by the parties. This second Stipulated Order of Dismissal resolved the remaining claims, including protection from harm, provision of medical and mental health treatment, and environmental health and safety. This stipulation recognized that, without any admission of liability on their part, the defendants would continue developing and implementing policies, practices, and procedures to address concerns at ECHS and ECCF. The Stipulated Order stated general goals with respect to each of the areas of concern raised, as well as more specific actions for achieving these goals, such as procedure development, additional training and staffing, and enhanced record keeping.

On June 21, 2012, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) moved for leave to intervene and to unseal the the previously filed compliance reports and vacate the standing order permitting future sealed filings. The court denied the motion to unseal the records and vacate the standing order and terminated NYCLU from the case. 2013 WL 4679070 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 30, 2013). NYCLU appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (13-3653).

On August 18, 2014, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court, granting NYCLU's motion to intervene and unseal the independently filed TCC records. 763 F.3d 235. On October 30, 2014, the District Court granted in part and denied in part NYCLU's motion. The court denied NYCLU's motion to unseal the semiannual compliance reports filed by the defendant and denied a motion to vacate the standing order, which allowing the sealing of future compliance reports.

Following the court's order, there was a series of document requests and unsealing. This is process is still ongoing. As of October 4, 2018, the monitor appointed in the settlement agreement was still conducting site visits to ensure compliance with the stipulated order of dismissal.

Jessica Kincaid - 04/12/2014
Brent Winslow - 11/06/2016
Keagan Potts - 03/13/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
HIV/AIDS
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Skin Infections
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Erie County
Plaintiff Description The U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - n/a
Filing Year 2009
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
09-cv-0849 (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: CRIPA Investigation of the Erie County Holding Center and the Erie County Correctional Facility
JC-NY-0059-0010.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/15/2009
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1] (2009 WL 3290598)
JC-NY-0059-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/30/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order [ECF# 42] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order [ECF# 54] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/17/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Settlement Agreement and Order Concerning Suicide Prevention and Related Mental Health Issues [ECF# 89-2]
JC-NY-0059-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Stipulated Settlement Agreement Concerning Suicide Prevention and Related Mental Health Issues [ECF# 91] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order [ECF# 94] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 97] (2010 WL 2973829)
JC-NY-0059-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/23/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order of Dismissal [ECF# 225-1] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/18/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Entering Stipulated Order of Dismissal [ECF# 227] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/25/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order [ECF# 250] (W.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0059-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (763 F.3d 235)
JC-NY-0059-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/18/2014
Source: Westlaw
[No Title] [Ct. of App. ECF# 53]
JC-NY-0059-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/18/2014
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
First Monitoring Report [ECF# 266]
JC-NY-0059-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Monitoring Report [ECF# 267]
JC-NY-0059-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Monitoring Report [ECF# 268]
JC-NY-0059-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Monitoring Report [ECF# 269]
JC-NY-0059-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fifth Monitoring Report [ECF# 270]
JC-NY-0059-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Sixth Monitoring Report [ECF# 271]
JC-NY-0059-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Seventh Monitoring Report [ECF# 272]
JC-NY-0059-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 274]
JC-NY-0059-0028.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 275]
JC-NY-0059-0029.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 276]
JC-NY-0059-0030.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 277]
JC-NY-0059-0031.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 278]
JC-NY-0059-0032.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 279]
JC-NY-0059-0033.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 280]
JC-NY-0059-0034.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Eighth Monitoring Report [ECF# 289]
JC-NY-0059-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Eleventh Monitoring Report [ECF# 302]
JC-NY-0059-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 303]
JC-NY-0059-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 308]
JC-NY-0059-0035.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Twelfth Monitoring Report [ECF# 309]
JC-NY-0059-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 311]
JC-NY-0059-0036.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Thirteenth Monitoring Report [ECF# 312]
JC-NY-0059-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourteenth Monitoring Report [ECF# 315]
JC-NY-0059-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 316]
JC-NY-0059-0037.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fifteenth Monitoring Report [ECF# 318]
JC-NY-0059-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Psychiatric Assessment [STATUS REPORT] [ECF# 319]
JC-NY-0059-0038.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Calabresi, Guido (Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0008 | JC-NY-0059-0013
Lynch, Gerard E. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0008
McCarthy, Jeremiah J. (W.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0008 | JC-NY-0059-0032
Skretny, William M. (W.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0002 | JC-NY-0059-0003 | JC-NY-0059-0004 | JC-NY-0059-0005 | JC-NY-0059-0007 | JC-NY-0059-0009 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Coon, Laura (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0012 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Fleisher, Aaron S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Fleming, Mary Pat (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Fleming, Mary E. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-0012
Green, Cheryl A (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0001 | JC-NY-0059-0006 | JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Hart, Charles W. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Hochul, William J. Jr. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-0012
Jansen, Regina (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011
King, Loretta (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0010
Lareau, Alyssa Connell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-0012 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Lopez, Zazy I (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-0012 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Mehltretter, Kathleen M. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0001 | JC-NY-0059-0006 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Myrthil, Marlysha (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0012 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-0012
Preston, Judy C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011
Rifkin, Lori Ellen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0012
Saucedo, Luis E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0012
Weiss, Daniel H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Colby, Jeremy A (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0012 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Kirkpatrick, Thomas F Jr. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Liebenow, Brian R (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Parker, Michelle M (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0014 | JC-NY-0059-0015 | JC-NY-0059-0016 | JC-NY-0059-0017 | JC-NY-0059-0018 | JC-NY-0059-0019 | JC-NY-0059-0020 | JC-NY-0059-0021 | JC-NY-0059-0022 | JC-NY-0059-0023 | JC-NY-0059-0024 | JC-NY-0059-0025 | JC-NY-0059-0026 | JC-NY-0059-0027 | JC-NY-0059-0028 | JC-NY-0059-0029 | JC-NY-0059-0030 | JC-NY-0059-0031 | JC-NY-0059-0033 | JC-NY-0059-0034 | JC-NY-0059-0035 | JC-NY-0059-0036 | JC-NY-0059-0037 | JC-NY-0059-0038 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Sleight, David J (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Wheaton, Kristin Klein (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-0011 | JC-NY-0059-9000
Other Lawyers Dunn, Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000
Stoughton, Corey (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0059-9000

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