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Case Name Prison Legal News (PLN) v. Lewis County JC-WA-0009
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-05304-JRC ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On April 11, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Lewis County. The complaint alleged that Lewis County's mail policy, which ... read more >
On April 11, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Lewis County. The complaint alleged that Lewis County's mail policy, which restricted incoming and outgoing correspondence at the county jail to postcards only, violates PLN's First Amendment rights. Additionally, PLN alleges that the jail's failure to provide notice to the sender when mail was censored or rejected violated the Fourteenth Amendment due process rights of senders and prisoners. It asked the Court to order the county to cease practicing the postcard-only rule and to require that the jail provide prisoners notice of and opportunity to appeal decisions to reject personal mail.

On September 10, 2014, the District Court (Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura) issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the jail from restricting mail to postcards only. The court ordered the jail to provide notices of rejection to prisoners and non-prisoner correspondents. It also ordered that all appeals be directed at an official other than the official who originally ordered the rejection of mail.

Just a few weeks later, the parties motioned for the court to convert the preliminary injunction to a permanent injunction with some modifications. On October 28, 2014, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Creatura) granted the parties stipulated motion. The permanent injunction requires the court to (1) permanently enjoin defendants from restricting mail to postcards only (2) permanently enjoin defendants from rejecting mail to or from prisoners without providing notice to the prisoner (3) permanently enjoin defendants from rejecting mail from non-prisoner correspondents without providing notice to the non-prisoner correspondent and (4) permanently enjoin defendants to give notice to the non-prisoner correspondent addressee of rejected outgoing mail whenever Constitutionally required. The court will retain jurisdiction to enforce the injunction for an unspecified amount of time.

On November 5, 2014, accepted the parties proposed order, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Creatura) dismissed with prejudice plaintiff’s claim for damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. The case is closed.

Alison Rogers - 09/24/2014
Jake Parker - 05/17/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Lewis County
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, a current events journal for prisoners.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
None yet
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:14-cv-05304-JRC (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-WA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/11/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 76] (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release: Federal Court Orders Lewis County Jail to Stop Widespread Censorship
JC-WA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2014
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Order Granting Permanent Injunction [ECF# 78] (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Dismissing Plaintiff's Damages Claim [ECF# 80] (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Creatura, John Richard Court not on record [Magistrate]
JC-WA-0009-0002 | JC-WA-0009-0004 | JC-WA-0009-0005 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chamberlain, Katherine (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0001 | JC-WA-0009-0003 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Weber, Lance (Florida)
JC-WA-0009-9000
Wing, Jesse (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0003 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Rowland, Milton George (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-9000
Other Lawyers Wright, Paul (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0001

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