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Case Name Huerta v. Ewing JC-IN-0027
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-00397 ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On October 13, 2016, pretrial detainees in the Vigo County jail filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued the sheriff and other officials of Vigo County under 42 U.S.C. §1983. They sought a declaratory judgment, preliminary ... read more >
On October 13, 2016, pretrial detainees in the Vigo County jail filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued the sheriff and other officials of Vigo County under 42 U.S.C. §1983. They sought a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunction, and damages, claiming violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clause and Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause.

The plaintiffs alleged that overcrowding had created unconstitutional conditions within the jail. Specifically, they alleged that they had been forced to sleep on the unsanitary floor; transported to other jails, depriving them of the opportunity to see their visitors and attorneys; and been denied necessary medical treatment. For example, one of the named plaintiffs was badly injured because he was sleeping on the floor when another inmate fell from the upper bunk and crashed onto him. Another named plaintiff was forced to sleep on the floor for seven months.

According to the complaint, a similar class action had been brought in 2000 to address overcrowding (Costa v. Harris). Although that case resulted in a private settlement agreement, the defendants failed to make substantial progress in addressing the problems. After 11 years with little change in conditions, the original plaintiffs filed a complaint about breach of contract, to no avail.

The plaintiff filed the an amended complaint on November 17, 2016, in which some plaintiffs were added, and a second amended complaint on November 22, 2016. There were no significant changes between the first and the second amended complaint.

On November 17, 2016, the plaintiffs sought class certification. On May 19, 2018, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson granted the plaintiffs’ motion, defining the class as: “All individuals in the care and custody of Vigo County, Indiana, including the current and future inmates who are or will be incarcerated in the Vigo County Jail and all current and future individuals who were transported to other county jails as a result of the overcrowding in the Vigo County Jail.” 2017 WL 2198632.

On November 21, 2016, the plaintiffs moved for the preliminary injunction to enjoin the defendant from the unconstitutional practice of overcrowded jail and to compel the defendant to implement the concrete plan for construction of a new jail.

On June 22, 2018, plaintiffs sought partial summary judgment for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. On October 10, 2018, Judge Magnus-Stinson granted this motion and awarded the injunctive relief. In this order, defendants were ordered to make a periodic report of the ongoing constitutional violations at the jail; to file a detailed report explaining how many staffs they would add to improve the jail’s living environment; and to submit a concrete plan to construct and open a new jail. The court noted that the plaintiffs requested-- and the defendants did not respond to the request-- that the court retain jurisdiction over this matter, even after the damages actions are resolved, which would end once a new facility is opened and there is agreement that constitutional requirements are satisfied. 2018 WL 4922038.

On December 19, 2018, the court ordered defendants to pay plaintiffs $75,000 for attorney's fees and costs.The defendants' first report filed on November 6, 2018, mentioned that the council voted to fund for hiring jail personnel and the commissioner selected the proposed site for a new jail. Also, on the defendants' report filed on December 19, 2018, mentioned that a plan to construct a new jail on the original proposed site failed because of the zoning restriction. The defendants' report filed on January 14, 2019, mentioned that the commissioner worked on deciding the alternative site for a new jail.

As of February 2019, the settlement negotiation is ongoing to solve the pending individual damage claim.

Chiaki Nojiri - 03/13/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
Hire
Monitoring
Reporting
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Post-PLRA Population Cap
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Counseling
Education
Funding
Grievance Procedures
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Skin Infections
Tuberculosis
Untreated pain
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Sheriff of Vigo County
Vigo County Comissioners
Vigo County Council
Plaintiff Description All individuals in the care and custody of Vigo County, Indiana, including the current and future inmates who are or will be incarcerated in the Vigo County Jail and all current and future individuals who were transported to other county jails as a result of the overcrowding in the Vigo County Jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Officials Agree To Cap Population at D.C. Jail
https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/feb/15/officials-agree-to-cap-population-at-dc-jail/
Date: February 2009
By: Michael Rigby (Prison Legal News)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:16−cv−00397 (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/13/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages--Class Action and Individual Claims [ECF# 1]
JC-IN-0027-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/13/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 14]
JC-IN-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 46] (2017 WL 2198632) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0027-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 107] (2018 WL 780509) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0027-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 146] (2018 WL 4922038) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0027-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Periodic Report Pursuant to Court's October 10, 2018 Order [ECF# 148]
JC-IN-0027-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants Periodic Report Pursuant to Court's November 15, 2018 Order [ECF# 162]
JC-IN-0027-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Status Report [ECF# 165]
JC-IN-0027-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-9000
Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth (S.D. Ind.) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0002 | JC-IN-0027-0003 | JC-IN-0027-0005 | JC-IN-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-9000
Lohmeier, Bradley C. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0001
Sutherlin, Michael K. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0001 | JC-IN-0027-0004 | JC-IN-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Friedrich, David P. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0006 | JC-IN-0027-0007 | JC-IN-0027-0008 | JC-IN-0027-9000
McKee, Craig M (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0008 | JC-IN-0027-9000
Wright, Michael James (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0027-0001 | JC-IN-0027-9000

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