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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 putative class action 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, which was denied on April 24 ... read more >
COVID-19 summary: This is a preexisting putative class action 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, which was denied on April 24. On June 9, the plaintiffs filed a supplemental motion for TRO and preliminary injunction, alleging unconstitutional living conditions. The case is ongoing.
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On January 14, 2020, prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi, filed this putative class action 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 28, plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint, which included a request for certification for a class composed of "all prisoners who are now, or will in the future be, subjected to the degrading policies and practices of MDOC and filthy, inhumane conditions endangering prisoner health and safety for the duration of their incarceration at Parchman."

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 plaintiffs filed a supplemental motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on June 9, naming four plaintiffs currently living in unconstitutional conditions at Parchman. The alleged conditions included deficient medical care, rat and cockroach infestation, and lack of repairs for air conditioning, toilets, and electrical wiring posing electrical hazards. The defendants opposed the motion on July 13, arguing that the plaintiffs have not met their burdens under the TRO and preliminary injunction standard, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, or the Eighth Amendment. They further argued that the requested relief have either already been remedied, or do not warrant remediation.

On November 12, the court consolidated this case with another case, Lang v. Taylor (4:20-cv-30) initiated by 227 current and former residents of the same prison, Parchman, for prison conditions that they alleged violate their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because both cases involved common questions of law and fact, similar plaintiffs and counsel, and similar procedural postures. The case is currently in discovery.

Dan Toubman - 04/24/2020
Averyn Lee - 09/21/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/17/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Medication, administration of
Untreated pain
Vision care
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 Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. The putative class is "all prisoners who are now, or will in the future be, subjected to the degrading policies and practices of MDOC and filthy, inhumane conditions endangering prisoner health and safety for the duration of their incarceration at Parchman."
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
Filed 01/14/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
4:20-cv-00007 (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2020
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]
Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 17 & 18]
PC-MS-0009-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class-Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial [ECF# 22]
PC-MS-0009-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2020
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 and Memorandum in Support [ECF# 62 (& 62-1 to 62-5), 63]
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]
Plaintiffs' Supplemental Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 98, 99]
PC-MS-0009-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants’ Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Supplemental Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 119]
PC-MS-0009-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 123 (& 123-1 to 123-8, 123-15, 123-16)]
PC-MS-0009-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Brown, Debra Marie (N.D. Miss.) 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-0009-0020 | PC-MS-0009-0022 | 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-0009-0020 | PC-MS-0009-0022 | PC-MS-0009-0024 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Enger, Ericson (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0020
Rice, Jessica L (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0020 | PC-MS-0009-0022 | 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-0009-0020 | PC-MS-0009-0022 | PC-MS-0009-0024 | 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-0009-0021 | PC-MS-0009-0023 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Bentley, Michael J. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-0023 | 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-0009-0021 | PC-MS-0009-0023 | 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-0009-0021 | PC-MS-0009-0023 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Jones, William Easom (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0012 | PC-MS-0009-0013 | PC-MS-0009-9000
Jones, William Trey (Mississippi) show/hide docs
PC-MS-0009-0016 | PC-MS-0009-0018 | PC-MS-0009-0021 | PC-MS-0009-0023
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-0009-0021 | PC-MS-0009-0023 | 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-0009-0023 | PC-MS-0009-9000

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