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Case Name George v. Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections CJ-LA-0003
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00338 ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Case Summary
On May 28, 2014, a private plaintiff with mental disabilities filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The plaintiff sued the Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals under the American ... read more >
On May 28, 2014, a private plaintiff with mental disabilities filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The plaintiff sued the Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals under the American Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants violated his rights under those statutes and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiff, represented by the Advocacy Center of Louisiana and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center, sought compensatory and punitive damages, permanent injunctive relief, attorneys fees, and declaratory relief that defendant's policies, procedures, and practices, as well as Louisiana Criminal Code articles 658(B) and 899 were unconstitutional.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that, in 2008, he was charged with possession of a firearm as a felon based upon two prior convictions. Before standing trial, he was found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), and was ordered to be conditionally released for five years provided he receive adequate treatment and monitoring. He was ordered to reside in a group home, living with other male individuals with mental disabilities. In July 2013, about six months before the five-year term was complete, the plaintiff was hospitalized and deprived of needed medicine for his mental illness; and as a consequence yelled threatening outbursts to other individuals in the group home when he returned. He was then arrested for violating his conditional release, where he spent a month in prison, only being released after his attorney filed a habeas corpus petition. There were never any criminal charges filed, and he was not informed of his rights.

The plaintiff filed this complaint in 2014 for the above actions in 2013. In December 2013, however, the forensic coordinator at the Department of Health and Hospitals recommended the plaintiff's conditional release be extended an additional year. During this extension, he was involuntarily committed to a mental health hospital. On July 1, 2014, while hospitalized, hospital staff determined his probation should be revoked, and he was again arrested and incarcerated without any criminal charges filed. Both times he was incarcerated, he was deprived of his needed medication and neither given opportunity to post bail nor informed of his rights. While incarcerated, he was placed in lockdown for mental reasons. These lockdowns limited his use of the canteen and gave him no exercise time. The plaintiff was released on August 25, 2014, again after his attorney filed for habeas corpus relief.

After his second incarceration, the plaintiff filed amended complaints to include the new allegations and to add defendant Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to the suit.

During the pretrial phase, both the plaintiff and the defendants filed separate motions for summary judgement, both of which were denied by U.S. Judge John W. deGravelles. On June 24, 2016, the defendants appealed the district court's denial of motion for summary judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The defendants moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal on June 26; the Fifth Circuit granted the defendants' motion July 8, 2016.

From June 27 to 29, 2016, the district court held a jury trial as to the Americans with Disabilities Act claims. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, finding neither of them to had violated the ADA. At the judge's request, both parties submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

In July 2017, Judge deGravelles set dates for oral argument for the remaining claims and the plaintiff moved for judgment as a matter of law. Oral arguments took place on September 20. The court published an opinion on September 29 entering judgment in favor of the defendants.

Applying the Youngberg balancing test and substantive due process analysis, the court held the statutory scheme was facially constitutional. The arrests were reasonably related to a legitimate government objective, and the two instances of the plaintiff's arrest were insufficient to establish a policy, procedure, or practice. The court held that a reasonable jury could have found that the care the plaintiff received was not discriminatory and a reasonable accommodation under the circumstances. Judge deGravelles dismissed all the plaintiff's claims with prejudice, and the case is now closed.

Erica Christianson - 10/25/2016
Chelsea Rinnig - 02/08/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Mental impairment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Commitment procedure
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Failure to train
False arrest
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Parole grant/revocation
Placement in detention facilities
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
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) Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections
Plaintiff Description Louisiana resident diagnosed with a mental disability
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
3:14-cv-00338-JWD-RLB (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/07/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-LA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 42]
CJ-LA-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order on Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 52] (2015 WL 1956256) (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Motion in Limine [ECF# 122] (2016 WL 3455378) (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Ruling on Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF# 124] (2016 WL 3568109) (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jury Verdict Form [ECF# 144]
CJ-LA-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Response to this Court's August 23, 2017, Order and in Support of Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 160]
CJ-LA-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law (272 F.Supp.3d 855) (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/29/2017
Source: Westlaw
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 169] (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bourgeois, Richard L. (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
DeGravelles, John Wheadon (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0003-0003 | CJ-LA-0003-0004 | CJ-LA-0003-0005 | CJ-LA-0003-0008 | CJ-LA-0003-0009 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carroll, Vanessa (Mississippi)
Craig, James W. (Louisiana)
Fernandez, Kathryn (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0007 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Foley, Eric Andrew (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0007 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Hahn, Ellen Bentley (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0001 | CJ-LA-0003-0002 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Lospennato, Ronald K (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0001 | CJ-LA-0003-0002 | CJ-LA-0003-0007 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Otero, Concepcion [Koki] (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0001 | CJ-LA-0003-0002
Schwartzmann, Katie M (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0001 | CJ-LA-0003-0002 | CJ-LA-0003-0007 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Thornton, Laura Lee (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0003-0007 | CJ-LA-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cody, Jeffrey K. (Louisiana)
Everett, Elizabeth (North Carolina)
Hilburn, James L (Louisiana)
Pantaleo, Lindsay L. (Louisiana)
Shows, Edmond Wade (Louisiana)
Young, Jenna Germany (Louisiana)

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