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Case Name Doe v. Massachusetts Department of Corrections PC-MA-0052
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-12255 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts
Case Summary
The plaintiff in this case is a trans woman who was housed in a men's prison in Massachusetts for a nonviolent drug possession charge. Because of her gender presentation and identity, she faced degrading sexual harassment from both staff and other prisoners. She was forced to use communal showers ... read more >
The plaintiff in this case is a trans woman who was housed in a men's prison in Massachusetts for a nonviolent drug possession charge. Because of her gender presentation and identity, she faced degrading sexual harassment from both staff and other prisoners. She was forced to use communal showers and bathrooms without locks, and was subject to strip searches conducted by male staff in front of other prisoners. The living conditions and repeated sexual harassment during her time there prompted her to file suit in the District Court for the District of Massachusetts on November 15, 2017. She alleged that the conditions she faced in the prison amount to a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as several state constitution claims.

The named defendants are the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Commissioner of the DOC, superintendent of the prison, ADA coordinator responsible for the facility, and Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Clinical Services responsible for the provision of health services to all DOC prisoners. GLAD is representing the plaintiff and the case has been assigned to Judge Richard G. Stearns.

The plaintiff sought injunctive relief. Specifically, she asked that the DOC be required to transfer her to a women's facility, require and train all staff to use the correct name and pronouns for her, treat her as they would any cisgender woman in custody, make accommodations to assure she will not be harassed by male staff or other prisoners, and provide her access to gender-appropriate medical care. She also requested attorneys fees. On March 5, 2018, Judge Stearns issued a partial preliminary injunction instructing the defendants to do the following: require that female rather than male staff conduct strip searches of the plaintiff whenever feasible, continue to house the plaintiff in a single cell and allow her separate time to shower, and to the extent that it is reasonable, provide a staff member to ensure that other inmates do not enter the shower area while the plaintiff is showering.

In September 2018, the DOC voluntarily transferred the plaintiff to a women's facility and in April 2019 she was released. Soon after, Judge Stearns dismissed the case as moot. Finally, on July 8, 2019, the court awarded the plaintiff $46,297.50 in attorneys fees and $11,740.94 in litigation expenses.

Alex Moody - 02/11/2020
Lauren Yu - 09/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Training
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Classification / placement
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Strip search policy
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Massachusetts Department of Correction
Plaintiff Description A transgender woman housed in a men's prison.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 11/15/2017
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-12255 (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0052-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MA-0052-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 59] (2018 WL 1156227) (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0052-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses [ECF# 129] (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0052-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Stearns, Richard Gaylore (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0002 | PC-MA-0052-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carney, Tiffiney F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Downs, J. Anthony (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Klein, Bennett H. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Levi, Jennifer (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Lobel, Louis L. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Matos, Elizabeth D. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Moore, Ashley (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Thompson, Joel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-0001 | PC-MA-0052-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McFarland, Richard C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-9000
Staples, Jennifer M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-9000
Other Lawyers Barry, Kevin (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-9000
Daniels, Joshua M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0052-9000

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