University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Amos v. Hall PC-MS-0009
Docket / Court 4:20-cv-00007 ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 summary: This is a preexisting case about conditions of confinement in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, MS. On March 16, 2020, plaintiffs sought emergency relief--various precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state argued that plaintiffs' requested measures ... read more >
COVID-19 summary: This is a preexisting case about conditions of confinement in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, MS. On March 16, 2020, plaintiffs sought emergency relief--various precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state argued that plaintiffs' requested measures would be no more effective than measures already taken. No outcome yet.
__________________________________________________________________

On January 14, 2020, prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. This suit seems to have had some connection to a public letter from entertainment mogul Jay-Z to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant decrying the conditions at state correctional facilities. The plaintiffs sued the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the Superintendent of the Mississippi Penitentiary under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private counsel--Quinn Emmanuel, in New York--and by local counsel, the plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The plaintiffs claimed that defendants were aware of and deliberately indifferent to inhumane conditions in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Parchman’s chronic understaffing and overcrowding, frequent outbreaks of violence, and physical neglect to the facilities violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

On January 23, 2020, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. In the accompanying brief, the plaintiffs outlined how Parchman’s frequent outbreaks of violence culminated in eight deaths in the first month of 2020. The understaffing and overcrowding at Parchman led to severe failure to provide adequate living conditions, including exposure to raw sewage and extreme temperatures, denial of urgent medical care, and food and water unfit for human consumption. The plaintiffs requested an evidentiary hearing at Parchman and appointment of a special master or independent special monitor.

On January 31, 2020, the court published an order denying the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction as incomplete and inadequate. The court did, however, agree to allow limited discovery in support of that motion. On February 10, 2020, the court published an order specifically allowing an inspection of Parchman facilities and medical evaluations of the plaintiffs. These inspections and evaluations occurred between February 11 and February 14, 2020. On February 21, 2020 the court granted Plaintiffs 30 days to amend their preliminary injunction and Defendants 30 days to respond to this motion.

On March 16, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a renewed emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and mandatory preliminary injunction based on the spread of COVID-19. The plaintiffs requested mandatory testing for prisoners at Parchman and mandatory screening for high fevers. The plaintiffs also sought non-punitive quarantine for prisoners who tested positive, had contact with prisoners who tested positive, or who were symptomatic for coronavirus as well as a 14 day quarantine for all new prisoners at Parchman. The plaintiffs requested mandatory and immediate improvements to personal and institutional hygiene including increased sanitation and provision of hand sanitizer to prisoners. Measures demanded also included the limitation of contact visitation, waiver of medical co pays, identification of supply chain shortages, and weekly reporting to the court. These precautions were based on Parchman prisoners' inability to take personalized measures to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19 and total reliance on the defendants for their personal safety in the face of this public health crisis.

In light of the special urgency of this motion, the court mandated that the defendants respond by March 19, 2020, and the plaintiffs reply by March 20, 2020.

On March 19, 2020, defendants filed their response, asserting that plaintiffs had no support for their assumption that plaintiffs' requested measures would be more effective than measures already taken by MDOC. Defendants also committed to implement procedures to better address the pandemic. In response, on March 20, 2020, plaintiffs modified the relief they sought to "ensure that these measures [were] effective and actually implemented."

On April 7, Judge Debra M. Brown issued an order directing the plaintiffs to file a supplemental brief by April 13, 2020, addressing the extent to which Parchman officials were not complying with the CDC's Interim Guidance issued on March 22, 2020.

On April 24, 2020, Judge Debra M. Brown denied plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, finding that plaintiffs had not shown a sufficient likelihood of success in proving deliberate indifference and evidence supporting the assertion that they would suffer irreparable injuries. Furthermore, Judge Brown asserted that plaintiffs' proposed motion would harm the public interest in that it would hinder the state's ability to implement prison policy.

The case is ongoing.

Dan Toubman - 04/24/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Mississippi Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 01/14/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:20-cv-00007 (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial [ECF# 1, 1-1]
PC-MS-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 13]
PC-MS-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 14]
PC-MS-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 31] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 48] (2020 WL 618824) (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 49] (2020 WL 618829) (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Mandatory Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 59 (& 59-1 to 59-10)]
PC-MS-0009-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Mandatory Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 60]
PC-MS-0009-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 61] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 62 (& 62-1 to 62-5)]
PC-MS-0009-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Mandatory Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 64]
PC-MS-0009-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Unopposed Second Motion for Leave to Amend and to Set Briefing Schedule [ECF# 65, 65-1]
PC-MS-0009-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Protective Order [ECF# 68, 68-1]
PC-MS-0009-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 70] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Mandatory Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 74 (& 74-1 to 74-7)]
PC-MS-0009-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Mississippi Department of Corrections' Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 75]
PC-MS-0009-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Protective Order [ECF# 77] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Notice of Supplemental Authority in Support of Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction as to COVID-19 [ECF# 78, 78-1]
PC-MS-0009-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 79] (2020 WL 1978382) (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-0019.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Brown, Debra Marie Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0004 | PC-MS-0009-0005 | PC-MS-0009-0006 | PC-MS-0009-0009 | PC-MS-0009-0014 | PC-MS-0009-0017 | PC-MS-0009-0019 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Virden, Jane M. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blackmon, Lawrence S. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0003 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Bufkin, Thomas Gerry (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0007 | PC-MS-0009-0008 | PC-MS-0009-0010 | PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0015 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Croft, Marcy Bryan (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0001 | PC-MS-0009-0002 | PC-MS-0009-0007 | PC-MS-0009-0008 | PC-MS-0009-0010 | PC-MS-0009-0011 | PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0015 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Thurman, Carson H. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0001 | PC-MS-0009-0002 | PC-MS-0009-0007 | PC-MS-0009-0008 | PC-MS-0009-0010 | PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Cody C. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Bentley, Michael J. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Bradley, Jacob A. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Howell, Karen E. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Jones, William Trey (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018
Jones, William Easom (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Kaufman, R. David (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Nobile, Krissy Casey (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-9000
Walker, Molly Mitchell (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -