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Case Name Hughes v. Sheriff Grady Judd JI-FL-0006
Docket / Court 8:12-cv-00568-SDM-MAP ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On March 15, 2012, a group of juvenile prisoners in Central County Jail in Polk County filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Though plaintiffs amended their complaint twice to include different defendants, the lawsuit proceeded against the Sheriff of Polk County ... read more >
On March 15, 2012, a group of juvenile prisoners in Central County Jail in Polk County filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Though plaintiffs amended their complaint twice to include different defendants, the lawsuit proceeded against the Sheriff of Polk County and Corizon Health, Inc., the health care provider retained by the Sheriff to provide medical services for the prisoners. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, asked the court for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, claiming that the youths' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The plaintiffs also requested class certification.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that, as juveniles, they were housed in an adult correctional facility. The plaintiffs claimed they were left unattended for long periods of time, and punished regularly with chemical agents, isolation and lockdown. The plaintiffs were forced to eat in their cells, and clean their own toilets with the soap provided for personal hygiene. The plaintiffs claimed a complete lack of rehabilitative services and extremely poor educational services.

On May 4, 2012, the Court (Judge Steven D. Merryday) granted the motion to dismiss for two named individual defendants, but denied the overall motion to dismiss the case. On August 13, 2012, the Court issued an order stating that K.G. (the representative of the sub-class of juvenile prisoners needing mental health treatment), as a pre-trial detainee, could only represent other pre-trial detainees, and therefore K.G., and the resulting subclass could not sue under the Eighth Amendment. However, Judge Merryday once again denied the overall motion to dismiss the case.

On November 19, 2012, the complaint was amended to include lack of adequate medical care. The plaintiffs alleged that medication was not provided to juveniles with serious mental and psychiatric problems, or that the medication was given irregularly and not in the way prescribed. The plaintiffs further alleged that no medical or counseling services were offered to children professing suicidal ideations. Instead, such children were put on "suicide watch." "Suicide watch" consists of placing the child in a open cage, with only a hard bench along one side. The children would be left there for at least 23 hours, but often for days. "Suicide watch" was also given to children punitively. Children also had to strip publicly and put on a 'turtle' suit, which left them vulnerable to the chemical agents, which continued to be used against children on "suicide watch."

On April 30, 2013, the Court granted class certification and denied the requested preliminary injunction. The first subclass was defined as: "each person who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court (that is, including preadjudicates and excluding direct files) and who is now or in the future incarcerated in the Polk County Jail."

A Second sub-class was compromised as each person: "(1) who is now or in the future incarcerated in the Polk County Jail, (2) who is under eighteen or under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, and (3) who suffers from a 'mental disorder.' " With a person who suffers from a mental disorder defined as: "diagnosed by a mental health care professional, qualified in Florida both to diagnose mental disorders and to prescribe psychotropic medication, and who is suffering from a 'moderate' or 'severe' 'mental disorder,' as defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV and (2) whose current diagnosis, including any prescription for psychotropic medication, appears in the person’s 'intake' records presented to the Polk County Jail at the time the person is presented to, and accepted by, the Polk County Jail for detention."

On June 12, 2013, Judge Merryday denied defendants' motions for summary judgment, and the parties proceeded to a bench trial, which ran from November 18, 2013 to December 18, 2013. At its close, Judge Merryday ordered both parties to submit proposed finding of facts and conclusions from both the plaintiff and the defendant.

On April 16, 2015, Judge Merryday issued an opinion denying relief to the plaintiffs, holding that the plaintiffs failed to prove that either the Sheriff or Corizon demonstrated deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiffs and that plaintiffs failed to show that defendants' policies and customs violated their constitutional rights. Judgment was entered for the defendants and against the plaintiffs. On September 1, 2015, Judge Merryday denied the defendant's motion for sanction for insufficient proof of malicious intent by the plaintiff.

The case is now closed.

Kathryn DeLong - 10/23/2014
Sarah Du - 11/12/2018
Lisa Koo - 03/03/2019


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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
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary procedures
Education
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Juveniles
Pepper/OC spray
Recreation / Exercise
Restraints : chemical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Visiting
Youth / Adult separation
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Polk County Jail
Plaintiff Description All future and present juvenile prisoners in the Polk County Jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
8:12−cv−00568 (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint--Class Action [ECF# 1]
JI-FL-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [First Motion to Dismiss] [ECF# 43] (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Second Motion to Dismiss] [ECF# 113] (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint - Injunctive Relief Sought [ECF# 197]
JI-FL-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [Preliminary Injunction and Class Certification] [ECF# 332] (2013 WL 1821077) (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Preliminary Injunction and Class Certification] [ECF# 364] (2013 WL 1810806) (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Conclusions of Law and Findings of Fact [ECF# 548] (M.D. Fla.)
JI-FL-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/16/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Merryday, Steven Douglas (M.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-0004 | JI-FL-0006-0005 | JI-FL-0006-0006 | JI-FL-0006-0007 | JI-FL-0006-9000
Pizzo, Mark A. (M.D. Fla.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-0003 | JI-FL-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bedi, Sheila A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Chasin, Steven M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Galloni, Tania (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-0001 | JI-FL-0006-0002 | JI-FL-0006-9000
Govindaiah, Manoj Gorantla (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Haskell, Miriam Fahsi (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-0001 | JI-FL-0006-9000
Hayden, Donald J. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-0002 | JI-FL-0006-9000
Mamounas, Joseph (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Morris, Maria V (California) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Owens, Jody E. II (Mississippi) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Rindone, Joseph Peter (New York) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aranda, Robert J. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Bronson, Jeanelle G. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Campbell, Hank B. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
McKinley, William Thompson (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Phillips, Jennifer L. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Telan, Patrick H. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Trohn, Jonathan Barnet (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Vasquez, Ramon (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000
Wallace, Philip J. (Florida) show/hide docs
JI-FL-0006-9000

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