University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Does v. Michigan Department of Corrections PC-MI-0033
Docket / Court 13-cv-14356-RHC-RSW ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On October 15, 2013, seven Michigan prisoners under the age of 18 but confined in adult correctional institutions filed this putative class action in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs brought claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 18 U.S.C. § 1591 against the ... read more >
On October 15, 2013, seven Michigan prisoners under the age of 18 but confined in adult correctional institutions filed this putative class action in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs brought claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 18 U.S.C. § 1591 against the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Governor of Michigan, and a number of named correctional officers and administrators. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that they were sexually assaulted or harassed by adult prisoners and guards while confined in adult correctional institutions run by the Michigan Department of Corrections. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the policy and practice of placing juveniles in adult prisons without taking adequate steps to protect them from known harm constituted deliberate indifference to their safety in violation of rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and various international treaties. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary damages.

In addition to this lawsuit, the plaintiffs also filed a complaint in state court for damages based on the same alleged facts. A summary of that lawsuit is available here.

On December 20, 2013, the defendants moved to dismiss the case. Two months later, they also moved for summary judgment, claiming that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they were no longer minors, and that the claims were moot because minor prisoners were no longer housed with adults.

The following month, the United States submitted a statement of interest clarifying its position on the Prison Rape Elimination Act. It stated that the defendants were incorrect in their assertions (1) that the PREA did not apply to states, and (2) that the “alleged risk” of harm to youthful offenders became moot when the MDOC changed its practices and began separating youthful offenders from adults. The U.S. instead stated that the PREA did apply to state institutions and compliance alone did not render a claim moot.

On May 28, 2014, District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss. He held that the plaintiffs did have standing, despite no longer being underage, as standing is determined at the time the complaint is filed. As for mootness, the court held that the defendants' voluntary cessation of the practice of housing minors with adults was not enough to render the case moot. The practice was still permissible under state law and the defendants themselves had characterized their compliance with this provision of PREA as voluntary. However, the court did grant the defendants summary judgment on the plaintiffs' claims under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and customary international law. The court dismissed these claims because none of the treaties created an independently enforceable right and because there was no peremptory norm of international law against housing youth and adults together in correctional institutions. 2014 WL 2207136 (E.D. Mich. May 28, 2014).

The defendants filed an additional motion to dismiss, alleging that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims should be dismissed because the issues were better suited for Eighth Amendment analysis, and that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The court denied this motion on August 5, 2014.

For the next few years, much of this litigation focused on whether the plaintiffs had exhausted their administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. First, in May 2014, the defendants moved for summary judgment as to Plaintiff John Doe 3. They filed an additional motion in May 2015, which the court granted in part and denied in part on February 8, 2016. The court granted summary judgment for the claims by all of the named plaintiffs except for John Doe 3, whose claim could go forward because there was a triable issue of fact related to whether defendants had thwarted his previous efforts to grieve. 2016 WL 465496 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 8, 2016).

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on March 15, 2016, adding five new John Doe plaintiffs.

Several of the plaintiffs dismissed under the February 2016 order subsequently exhausted the administrative remedies and filed a separate case in the same court (docket number 16-13765). Judge Robert Cleland consolidated the cases on May 8, 2017.

Meanwhile, the defendants filed another motion for summary judgment based on exhaustion. On March 14, 2017, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion. It dismissed two plaintiffs and allowed one to remain. The defendants then moved for summary judgment twice more, which the court denied on February 21, 2018 and then later granted in part on November 5.

In response to the defendants’ attempts to dismiss plaintiffs from the case, the plaintiffs moved to apply a single John Doe exhaustion to the entire putative class. The court denied this motion on February 21, 2018, holding that it was not the appropriate time to determine the imputed exhaustion question because the plaintiffs had not yet shown actual exhaustion by any class representative.

On November 5, 2018, the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss some of the claims, finding that some of the John Doe plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. The court explained that these plaintiffs could not demonstrate exhaustion by compliance with the defendants' PREA grievance process because these plaintiffs' claims arose before MDOC adopted that process. The court also dismissed the Michigan Department of Corrections from the case on sovereign immunity grounds. 2018 WL 5786199 (E.D. Mich. 2018).

The case is ongoing.

Richard Jolly - 11/05/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 02/26/2016
Virginia Weeks - 09/14/2017
Gabriela Hybel - 03/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Grievance Procedures
Juveniles
Prison Rape Elimination Act
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Michigan Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Seven male, juvenile prisoners who suffered various forms of abuse at the hands of adult prisoners and/or prison staff
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2013
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PC-MI-0039 : Does v. Michigan Department of Corrections (State Court)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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)
2:13-cv-14356 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/18/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
PC-MI-0033-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States of America [ECF# 56]
PC-MI-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/20/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Opinion and Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Partial Motion for Summary Judgment, Granting Renewed Protective Order, Denying Defendants' Motion for Definite Statement] [ECF# 91] (2014 WL 2207136) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Without Prejudice Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 119] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on the Basis of Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies and Scheduling a Telephone Conference [ECF# 156] (2016 WL 465496) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 163]
PC-MI-0033-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment Against Plaintiffs John Doe 8, 9, and 10, and Denying Summary Judgment Against Plaintiff John Doe 12 [ECF# 204] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Resolving Not to Apply Imputed Exhaustion at This Time [ECF# 215] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting In Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and to Dismiss Certain Claims [ECF# 224] (2018 WL 5786199) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0002 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0004 | PC-MI-0033-0005 | PC-MI-0033-0007 | PC-MI-0033-0008 | PC-MI-0033-0009 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Whalen, R. Steven (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Addis, Anlyn (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Chaney, Nakisha N. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Labelle, Deborah A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Macey, Edward Alan (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
McGehee, Cary S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Pitt, Peggy Goldberg (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Pitt, Michael L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Prescott, Sarah (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Rivers, Beth M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Salvatore, Jennifer B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkman, Cori E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Donnelly, Mark E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Farrell, James T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Govorchin, A. Peter (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Grossi, Christina M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Nelson, Margaret A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Schneider, Clifton B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Thurber, John L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-9000
Other Lawyers DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0033-0003

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