University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name V.W. v. Conway JI-NY-0010
Docket / Court 9:16-cv-01150-DNH-DEP ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Special Collection DOJ Civil Rights Division Statements of Interest
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On September 21, 2016, six named plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit against Onondaga County in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Legal Services of Central New York, the plaintiffs ... read more >
On September 21, 2016, six named plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit against Onondaga County in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Legal Services of Central New York, the plaintiffs challenged the isolation of juveniles in solitary confinement at the County Justice Center. This practice, they alleged, violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. In addition to exposing them to serious harm, plaintiffs subclass members claimed the Onondaga Sherriff’s Office and Syracuse City School District denied them of basic education and services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, as well as class action certification.

On January 2, 2017, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest regarding the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction. Citing both scientific findings and case law, the DOJ emphasized the greater psychological vulnerability of juveniles compared to adults. Specifically, the DOJ pointed to evidence that isolating juveniles causes serious harm.

This case was assigned to U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd. On February 22, 2017, Judge Hurd held the plaintiffs had complied with Rule 23’s requirements for class certification and demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims. The Court, therefore, granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Judge Hurd also ordered that defendants be immediately enjoined and restrained from imposing 23-hour disciplinary isolation. The Court further granted plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and ordered that defendants’ must immediately provide juveniles the proper education mandated under New York law, and specifically comply with the special education requirements under the IDEA. Finally, the Court ordered that all imposed discipline include meaningful social interaction with other, and must not directly harm a juvenile’s psychological condition.

The case is ongoing. A status telephone conference is set for June 2, 2017.

Amanda Grill - 01/22/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Disability
disability, unspecified
General
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Juveniles
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Defendant(s) Onondaga County
Plaintiff Description detainees at the Justice Center, currently or previously held in disciplinary isolation
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
9:16−cv−01150−DNH−DEP (N.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
JI-NY-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 5-1]
JI-NY-0010-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States
JI-NY-0010-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/03/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum-Decision and Order [ECF# 68] (2017 WL 696808) (N.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hurd, David N. (N.D.N.Y.)
JI-NY-0010-0004 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Peebles, David E. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
JI-NY-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cotter, Joshua T. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Desgranges, Philip L. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Dunn, Christopher (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Hirose, Mariko (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Kovel, Mariana Louise (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Padmanabhan, Aadhithi (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Stewart, Aimee Krause (District of Columbia)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Young, Samuel C (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Young, Susan M. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-0001 | JI-NY-0010-0003 | JI-NY-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dougherty, Kathleen M. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-9000
Fellows, Jonathan B. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-9000
Reid, Kate I. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-9000
Rhinehart, Carol L. (New York)
JI-NY-0010-9000
Other Lawyers Smiddie, Kyle (District of Columbia)
JI-NY-0010-0002

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