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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 confined in adult correctional institutions filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 18 U.S.C. § 1591 against the Michigan Department of ... read more >
On October 15, 2013, seven Michigan prisoners under the age of 18 confined in adult correctional institutions filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued 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, 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 constitutes deliberate indifference to their safety in violation of rights guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and various international treaties. The complaint sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary damages.

In addition to this suit, the plaintiffs also filed a suit arising out of the occurrence alleged here in the Michigan Circuit Court for the County of Washtenaw. That suit is available here.

On February 28, 2014, the State moved for summary judgment, claiming that minor prisoners were no longer housed with adults and that adult housing was physically separate from prisoners who are under 18 years of age. On May 28, 2014, District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland granted in part and denied in part that motion. The opinion held that the plaintiffs did have standing, despite no longer being underage, as standing is determined at the time the complaint is filed. Furthermore, the court held that, although the defendants had abandoned the practice of housing minors with adults, the fact remained that the practice was still permissible pursuant to state law, and, as such, subject to restart. However, the court did grant 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).

In May 2015, the defendants moved for summary judgment on the plaintiffs' remaining for a failure to exhaust administrative remedies. On February 8, 2016, the court granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment for the claims by all of the named plaintiffs except for John Doe 3 who did exhaust his administrative remedies. 2016 WL 465496 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 8, 2016).

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

Discovery and litigation proceeded for the next several months. The court granted in part and denied in part summary judgment on Mar. 14, 2017 as to four of the newly added John Doe plaintiffs. The court granted summary judgment against 3 John Doe plaintiffs on the basis that they did not exhaust their administrative remedies and had no triable reason for failing to do so. The fourth John Doe plaintiff has not exhausted administrative remedies either, but the court determined that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether or not threats prevented John Doe from so doing.

The case is ongoing.

Richard Jolly - 11/05/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 02/26/2016
Virginia Weeks - 09/14/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Age discrimination
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Grievance Procedures
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
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
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PC-MI-0039 : Does v. Michigan Department of Corrections (State Court)
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
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 ]

2:13-cv-14356 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2017
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]
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 (2016 WL 465496) (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/08/2016
Source: Bloomberg Law
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]
Judges Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0004 | PC-MI-0033-0005 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Whalen, R. Steven (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Addis, Anlyn (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Chaney, Nakisha N. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Labelle, Deborah A. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Macey, Edward Alan (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-9000
McGehee, Cary S. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Pitt, Peggy Goldberg (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Pitt, Michael L. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Prescott, Sarah (Michigan)
Rivers, Beth M. (Michigan)
Salvatore, Jennifer B. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0033-0001 | PC-MI-0033-0003 | PC-MI-0033-0006 | PC-MI-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barkman, Cori E. (Michigan)
Donnelly, Mark E. (Michigan)
Farrell, James T. (Michigan)
Govorchin, A. Peter (Michigan)
Grossi, Christina M. (Michigan)
Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan)
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)
Nelson, Margaret A. (Michigan)
Schneider, Clifton B. (Michigan)
Thurber, John L. (Michigan)
Other Lawyers DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan)

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