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Case Name McCreary v. Federal Bureau of Prisons PC-PA-0044
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01011-YK-SES ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On June 9, 2017, three mentally ill prisoners of the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg (USP Lewisburg) filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The case was assigned to Judge Yvette Kane. The plaintiffs sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons, ... read more >
On June 9, 2017, three mentally ill prisoners of the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg (USP Lewisburg) filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The case was assigned to Judge Yvette Kane. The plaintiffs sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that the defendants’ failure to provide adequate treatment for prisoners with mental illness constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The plaintiffs alleged that they were deprived of medication, received puzzles and coloring pages in lieu of treatment, and had five-minute conversations in the public showers with mental health professionals instead of formal therapy sessions. Represented by the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On August 11, 2017, the plaintiffs moved for class certification. The class would consist of all persons who were, as of the filing date of the complaint in this case, or are now, or will be in the future, confined to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons in the United States Penitentiary Lewisburg and suffer from a Serious Mental Illness or a Mental Illness, requiring treatment under one or more of the BOP’s CARE levels.

On October 2, 2017, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, a motion for summary judgement. In the two weeks after filing this motion, the defendants filed a motion to stay the plaintiff’s motion for class certification pending their motion to dismiss and a statement of material facts containing records of the plaintiff’s interactions with mental health services. The defendant argued that the plaintiffs’ complaint did not sufficiently demonstrate that the defendants did not provide treatment; rather, it merely demonstrated that the plaintiffs disagreed with the treatments that the medical professionals prescribed for them. On December 7, 2017, the court granted the defendants’ motion to stay class certification until after the defendants’ motion to dismiss was decided.

On June 20, 2018, Magistrate Judge Schwab issued a report recommending that the defendants’ motion to dismiss be denied. She found that the plaintiffs had not raised separate Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim, and so the defendants could not move to dismiss on that basis, but invited the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint if they did intend to raise an Eighth Amendment claim on conditions. With regard to the Eighth Amendment medical care claims, the Magistrate Judge found that the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged facts to state a claim, and so denied the motion to dismiss on that basis as well. The defendants also argued that the plaintiffs' complaint violated the favorable termination rule (by challenging the duration of their confinement), but the Magistrate Judge recommended that the court temporarily deny the motion to dismiss on that objection. The plaintiffs objected to the recommendation saying that they did not challenge the duration of their confinement, nor did they raise Eighth Amendment conditions claims.

Rebecca Strauss - 06/07/2018
Abigail DeHart - 08/02/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Counseling
Disciplinary procedures
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Bivens
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg
United States of America
Plaintiff Description All persons who were, as of the filing date of the complaint in this case, or are now, or will be in the future, confined to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons in the United States Penitentiary Lewisburg and suffer from a Serious Mental Illness or a Mental Illness, requiring treatment under one or more of the BOP’s CARE levels
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Federal Prisoners Sue Over Unconstitutional Isolation Practices
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
Date: Jun. 9, 2017
By: Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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)
1:17-cv-1011 (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0044-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-PA-0044-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 57] (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0044-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 58]
PC-PA-0044-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Objections to Report & Recommendation [ECF# 61]
PC-PA-0044-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kane, Yvette (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0044-9000
Schwab, Susan (M.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
PC-PA-0044-0002 | PC-PA-0044-0003 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boynton, Marissa R. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0044-0001 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Davy, James (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0044-9000
Fornaci, Phillip Jerome (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0044-0001 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Metz, Kevin H. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0044-0001 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0044-0001 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Palmer-Ball, Katherine B. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-0004 | PC-PA-0044-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Judge, Timothy (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0044-9000
Thiel, G. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0044-9000

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