University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Human Rights Defense Center v. Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority JC-VA-0015
Docket / Court 1:18CV00013 ( W.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On March 28, 2018, Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing prison inmates access to information about their civil and legal rights, filed a complaint against the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority in the U.S. District Court for the Western ... read more >
On March 28, 2018, Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing prison inmates access to information about their civil and legal rights, filed a complaint against the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. They brought the claim under 42 USC §1983. The complaint alleged that the Jail Authority’s mail policy had violated HRDC’s First Amendment right to free speech and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. HRDC, represented by its own counsel and by private litigators, sought injunctive relief, both compensatory and punitive monetary damages, and attorney fees.

Specifically, HRDC claimed the defendants were censoring and refusing to deliver educational material HRDC was sending to inmates. Furthermore, HRDC claimed the defendants were enacting these policies without consistently notifying HRDC of their decision when they blocked information and without offering any way to appeal decisions to block material from inmates.

HRDC moved for a preliminary injunction on March 29, 2018. Judge James P. Jones granted the preliminary injunction the following week, preventing the defendant from continuing to censor and block inmates’ access to HRDC’s educational materials. As of January 2019, this preliminary injunction was still in place, and litigation continues.

Sarah Reasoner - 01/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Education
Grievance Procedures
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority
Plaintiff Description Human Rights Defense Center is a non-profit organization who works to provide legal and educational resources to incarcerated persons
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2018 - n/a
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-00013 (W.D. Va.)
JC-VA-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-VA-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 37] (2018 WL 3239299) (W.D. Va.)
JC-VA-0015-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jones, James Parker (FISC, W.D. Va.)
JC-VA-0015-0002 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Sargent, Pamela Meade (W.D. Va.) [Magistrate]
JC-VA-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Douglass, Sean Michael (District of Columbia)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Hentoff, Thomas Goodman (District of Columbia)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Johnson, Bruce E.H. (Washington)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Kelly, Chelsea Teresa (District of Columbia)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Marshall, Daniel (Florida)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Mutamba, Masimba (Florida)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)
JC-VA-0015-0001 | JC-VA-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Londos, Katherine Cabell (Virginia)
JC-VA-0015-9000
Schnetzler, Nathan Henry (Virginia)
JC-VA-0015-9000

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