University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Human Rights Defense Center v. Ballard PC-KY-0009
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-00057-GFVT ( E.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On July 17, 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. HRDC sued both the former and current commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC), as well as many agents of the KDOC, all under 42 U.S.C. § ... read more >
On July 17, 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. HRDC sued both the former and current commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC), as well as many agents of the KDOC, all under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. HRDC, a charitable organization and publisher of Prison Legal News, sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief as well as attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs claimed that KDOC's policy of banning books sent to prisoners violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. More specifically, HRDC alleged that KDOC prohibited prisoners from receiving books that were not directly purchased by prisoners and also prohibited them if the sender was not on a pre-approved vendors list. The complaint alleged that dozens of books sent to prisoners were censored, and that on several occasions, HRDC received notices indicating the books were rejected for a variety of reasons.

On March 6 and July 17, 2018, HRDC filed a first and second amended complaint adding several defendants but making few substantive changes to the allegations or claims.

After several months of discovery, the parties reached a settlement agreement and HRDC moved for the approval of this agreement on January 28, 2019. The court issued an order on March 26, 2019 in which it did three things: 1) approved the settlement agreement of injunctive claims; 2) retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement and; 3) dismissed the injunctive claims against the defendants with prejudice.

On July 15, 2019, the parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the case. The court issued an order on July 17, 2019 asserting its retained jurisdiction over the execution of the settlement agreement and adjudication of attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses. It dismissed with prejudice all other claims for damages and declaratory relief.

As of April 6, 2020, litigation in this case remains ongoing as to fees, costs and expenses.

Jake Parker - 06/07/2018
Alex Moody - 04/06/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Kentucky Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description The Human Rights Defense Center, a not-for-profit charitable organization whose purpose is to educate prisoners and the public about the constitutional rights of prisoners, conditions in American jails and prisons, and the economic and social costs of mass incarceration.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 07/17/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:17-cv-00057 (E.D. Ky.)
PC-KY-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-KY-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [ECF# 42]
PC-KY-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion to Approve Settlement of Injunctive Claims [ECF# 50]
PC-KY-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 51] (E.D. Ky.)
PC-KY-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Atkins, Edward B. (E.D. Ky.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-9000
Van Tatenhove, Gregory Frederick (E.D. Ky.) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0005 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bathurst, Camille (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0004 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0003 | PC-KY-0009-0004 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Johnson, Bruce E.H. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0003 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Marshall, Daniel (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0003 | PC-KY-0009-0004 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Mutamba, Masimba (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0003 | PC-KY-0009-0004 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0003 | PC-KY-0009-0004 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Allison R. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-9000
Dunn, Barry L (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-9000
Kinsolving, Megan Handshoe (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-9000
Nolan, Brett Robert (Kentucky) show/hide docs
PC-KY-0009-9000

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