University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Dorn v. Michigan Department of Corrections PC-MI-0037
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00359-PLM ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
On April 2, 2015, a HIV positive prisoner filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The plaintiff sued under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA), and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 against ... read more >
On April 2, 2015, a HIV positive prisoner filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The plaintiff sued under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA), and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 against the Michigan Department of Corrections. The plaintiff, represented by Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service and by Lambda Legal, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant's enforced a policy regarding HIV-positive prisoners that disproportionately and unlawfully discriminated against prisoners living with HIV.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant's policy subjected him to drastically more severe punishment after allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with another prisoner. This punishment included an indefinite period of administrative segregation that ultimately lasted nearly one year; a heightened security classification; transfer to remote facilities in the Upper Peninsula; loss of a paid work assignment where he had substantial freedom and responsibility; loss of access to the law library, despite having an active pending appeal that he was pursuing pro se; loss of educational and religious programming, some of which factored into his parole determination; inability to access the telephone on a daily basis; and removal of personal property within his cell.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. In response, on May 27, 2015, the plaintiff amended the complaint, so on June 1, 2015, Judge Paul L. Maloney denied the motion to dismiss as moot. Following Judge Maloney's denial, the plaintiff was released on parole. The defendants then refiled their motions to dismiss.

On June 6, 2017, Judge Maloney granted defendants' motion to dismiss on plaintiff's ADA, RA and due process claims on the grounds that defendants were protected in their official capacity by sovereign immunity. The court further held that the majority of plaintiff's requests for declaratory and injunctive relief were moot due to his release on parole. However, Judge Maloney also determined that plaintiff retained standing for his expungement request and that discovery was necessary prior to allowing defendants to assert qualified immunity as a defense to plaintiffs claims in their individual capacities.

On November 6, 2018, the parties submitted their Settlement Agreement, which set out the following proposals:
- The defendant would pay $150,000 to the plaintiff
- The defendant would implement revisions to three sections of its Policy Directive:
(1) Segregation for HIV positive prisoners who are found to be guilty of misconduct if it is determined that the behavior presented a significant risk of HIV transmission;
(2) Timely reporting the misconduct to the Assistant Chief Medical Officer, who will review the actual misconduct reports and document the behavior in the prisoner's health record;
(3) If the behavior presented a significant risk of HIV transmission, the Correctional Facilities Administration Deputy Director, upon consultation with the Chief Medical Officer shall be informed in writing of the incident and shall review the case to determine if the prisoner should be classified to administrative segregation.
On November 14, 2018, pursuant to their settlement agreement, the plaintiff submitted a Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal, which stated that the parties reached a settlement agreement resolving all the issues in this lawsuit, including costs, attorney's fees, and expenses. The case is now closed.

Lakshmi Gopal - 10/06/2015
Nichollas Dawson - 03/24/2018
Lisa Koo - 03/03/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Law library access
Prison Rape Elimination Act
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
HIV/AIDS
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Michigan Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description An HIV positive prisoner
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
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)
1:15-cv-00359-PLM (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MI-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Money Damages [ECF# 15]
PC-MI-0037-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order dismissing as moot defendant's (13) motion to dismiss [ECF# 16] (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0037-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 25] (2017 WL 2436997) (W.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0037-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 88]
PC-MI-0037-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Policy Directive [ECF# 88-1]
PC-MI-0037-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Maloney, Paul Lewis (W.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0002 | PC-MI-0037-0004 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Davis, Chris E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0001 | PC-MI-0037-0003 | PC-MI-0037-0005 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Ingelhart, Kara N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000
Palazzolo, Kyle A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0001 | PC-MI-0037-0003 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Pinggera, Anthony C (California) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000
Saenz, Richard (New York) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0005 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Schoettes, Scott A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0001 | PC-MI-0037-0003 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Denise C. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000
Dean, Michael R. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000
Mertens, Scott A (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-0005 | PC-MI-0037-9000
Powe, Douglas G. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000
Schneider, Clifton B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0037-9000

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