University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Big House Books v. Hall PC-MS-0008
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-00259-DPJ-FKB ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On April 26, 2018, the non-profit, Big House Books, along with two prisoners at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III was assigned to the case. The plaintiffs sued ... read more >
On April 26, 2018, the non-profit, Big House Books, along with two prisoners at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III was assigned to the case. The plaintiffs sued SMCI and the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), alleging that the MDOC’s new policy of barring prisoners from receiving free books, unless they are religious books, was unconstitutional. More specifically, they brought this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that this new policy was discriminatory on the basis of religious content and violated the First and the Fourteenth Amendments. Represented by the Mississippi Center for Justice and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

After the plaintiffs filed the complaint, there was little activity in the case, so the court issued an order to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute on December 3, 2018. The plaintiffs responded by filing a stipulation of dismissal on December 19, 2018. The plaintiffs explained that shortly after the complaint was filed, the parties met and reached an agreement to change the policies and practices that led to this lawsuit. The defendants stopped their practice of only allowing prisoners to receive free books if they were religious. In the summer of 2018, MDOC clarified their policy to make clear that free books from distributors, like Big House Books, could be sent to prisoners. The plaintiffs monitored the shipments to prisoners to ensure that the practice changed and found prompt and ongoing compliance. The parties then agreed that the plaintiffs would be paid attorneys’ fees of $6,000 for their work. The case is now closed.

Rebecca Strauss - 06/06/2018
Emily Kempa - 03/25/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Grievance Procedures
Library (non-law) access
Mail
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Mississippi
South Mississippi Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Two prisoners at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution; Big House Books, a non-profit organization that sends donated books to prisoners
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Filed 04/26/2018
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Miss.
12/19/2018
3:18-cv-259
PC-MS-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Miss.
04/26/2018
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-MS-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Miss.
12/19/2018
Response to Order to Show Cause [ECF# 10]
PC-MS-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Ball, F. Keith (S.D. Miss.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-MS-0008-9000
Jordan, Daniel Porter III (S.D. Miss.) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0008-0001 | PC-MS-0008-0002 | PC-MS-0008-9000
Orlansky, Beth L. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0008-0001 | PC-MS-0008-0002 | PC-MS-0008-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -