University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Wickersham PC-MI-0038
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-12350 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On June 30, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Macomb County. PLN, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. PLN ... read more >
On June 30, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Macomb County. PLN, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. PLN claimed that an October 2013 policy at the Macomb County Jail unlawfully prohibited its publication from reaching inmates at the jail, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

On June 30, 2015, PLN also filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to stop Macomb County from improperly censoring publications and correspondence mailed to prisoners at Macomb County Jail by PLN and other senders pursuant to a postcard only policy.

On September 30, 2015, the Court (Judge Avern Cohn) denied the motion without prejudice for reasons stated in court on the record at a hearing on September 30, 2015 for which transcripts have not been obtained. The Court ordered the claim for injunctive relief is to be tried by the Court and money damages to be tried by a jury, with the claim for injunctive relief tried first. On June 17, 2016, Judge Cohn ordered a stipulated injunction. The court ordered the defendants to deliver all publications to prisoners directly from any publisher, and clarified that defendants may censor a publication only if it is determined to be detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or if it might facilitate criminal activity, and not solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social or sexual, or because its content is unpopular or repugnant. The court additionally ordered defendants to deliver all mail to prisoners, including publications from the plaintiffs. The defendant was also required to establish an appeals process for any undelivered material, and to state the reason for any censorship. The court gave the defendant 30 days to comply and to notify its employees of the new policy, and 60 days to notify the plaintiff in writing of the compliance. The court retained jurisdiction for enforcement purposes.

On January 11, 2017, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The court denied this motion on June 13, 2017. The court dismissed the case on October 10, 2017, and retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the Stipulated Injunction of June 17, 2016. The case is now closed.

Lakshmi Gopal - 10/31/2015
Elizabeth Heise - 10/31/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Macomb County
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, a nonprofit corporation focused on public education, prisoner education, advocacy, and outreach in support of the rights of prisoners and in furtherance of basic human rights.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2017
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 ]

  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:15-cv-12350 (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0038-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief under the Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Damages [ECF# 1]
PC-MI-0038-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2015
Source: Papers of David Marlin
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 2]
PC-MI-0038-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Bifurcating Claims and Setting Date for Final Pretrial Conference [ECF# 48] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0038-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Injunction [ECF# 49] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0038-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/17/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Order of Dismissal [ECF# 72] (E.D. Mich.)
PC-MI-0038-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cohn, Avern Levin (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0004 | PC-MI-0038-0005 | PC-MI-0038-0006 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Hluchaniuk, Michael J. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-9002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Galloway, Angela (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003
Johnson, Bruce E.H. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003
Lamoste, Elizabeth (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Manville, Daniel E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Stewart, James Edward Sr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003 | PC-MI-0038-0005 | PC-MI-0038-0006 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0001 | PC-MI-0038-0003 | PC-MI-0038-9002
Defendant's Lawyers Schapka, John A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PC-MI-0038-0005 | PC-MI-0038-0006 | PC-MI-0038-9002

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