University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Robertson County (TN) JC-TN-0007
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-00392 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On July 13, 2010, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division notified Robertson County of its intent to open an investigation of conditions at the Robertson County Detention Center ("RCDF"). On August 26, 2011, the DOJ issued a letter finding that Robertson County failed to protect prisoners ... read more >
On July 13, 2010, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division notified Robertson County of its intent to open an investigation of conditions at the Robertson County Detention Center ("RCDF"). On August 26, 2011, the DOJ issued a letter finding that Robertson County failed to protect prisoners from harm due to inadequate suicide prevention measures and inadequate mental health services.

According to the DOJ, the County did not take adequate measures to remedy the unconstitutional conditions at RCDF, and so on April 26, 2013, the Attorney General filed this lawsuit on behalf of the United States in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. The U.S. sued Robertson County, the County Mayor, the Robertson County Commissioners, and the Sheriff as the principal agents responsible for the conditions at RCDF under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. §1997. The plaintiff alleged that the RCDF violated prisoners’ Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments rights by exhibiting deliberate indifference to inmates’ health and safety by not implementing adequate suicide prevention tactics and lacking an overall strategy to assist inmates with mental health illnesses.

On April 30, 2013, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that stipulated that prisoners were to have timely access to a qualified mental health professional (QMHP) and that the QMHPs were to work as part of an interdisciplinary team to maintain a risk profile for each individual. It further outlined that RCDF would develop and implement policies to provide adequate mental health services to inmates as well as a training program for staff.

In the ninth and final compliance report, the United States reported that Robertson County had maintained substantial compliance with all of the 48 provisions in the agreement and had operated a substantially adequate mental health care system for a sufficient period of time to warrant completion of the settlement agreement. As such, the parties jointly moved to dismiss the case and to terminate the settlement agreement and the order that enforced it. On March 30, 2018, District Judge William L. Campbell, Jr. granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice. There are no other entries apparent on the docket and the case is presumably closed.

Nichollas Dawson - 11/27/2017
Jake Parker - 06/29/2018


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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
Hire
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Counseling
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Robertson County
Plaintiff Description Attorney General of the United States
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2013 - 2018
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:13-cv-392 (M.D. Tenn.)
JC-TN-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: Investigation of Robertson County Detention Facility
JC-TN-0007-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/26/2011
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-TN-0007-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4]
JC-TN-0007-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3rd Monitoring Report [as Part of the Settlement Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Justice and Robertson County, Tennessee] [ECF# 7-1]
JC-TN-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Compliance Report [ECF# 12]
JC-TN-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Compliance Report - 9th and Final Monitoring Report [ECF# 13]
JC-TN-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Campbell, William Lynn Jr. (M.D. Tenn.)
JC-TN-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbate, Julie K. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0002 | JC-TN-0007-0003
Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0002
Holder, Eric H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0002
Maddox, William G. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0002 | JC-TN-0007-0003 | JC-TN-0007-0004 | JC-TN-0007-0006 | JC-TN-0007-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0001 | JC-TN-0007-0002
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
JC-TN-0007-0002 | JC-TN-0007-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Richert, Clyde W. III (Tennessee)
JC-TN-0007-0003 | JC-TN-0007-9000

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