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Case Name Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. v. Federal Bureau of Prisons JC-NY-0075
Docket / Court 19-cv-660 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On February 4, 2019, the plaintiff, a nonprofit legal aid organization providing public defense services for indigent clients in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, filed this suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) ... read more >
On February 4, 2019, the plaintiff, a nonprofit legal aid organization providing public defense services for indigent clients in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, filed this suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) after fire damage at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), a major pre-trial detention facility in Brooklyn, limited access to the plaintiff's clients. The plaintiff also alleged that the fire worsened living conditions at the facility. Represented by private counsel, plaintiff made its claims under the Declaratory Judgment Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and invoked the Sixth Amendment right to access counsel. It sought declaratory judgment, a preliminary and permanent injunction, a hearing, a Special Master inspection of the MDC, and costs.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that, after a fire at MDC on January 27, 2019, all visits were suspended for five days. The complaint alleged that visits resumed on February 3, but were again suspended indefinitely the day after. It also alleged that a temporary procedure to use different rooms for visits was not implemented. The plaintiff also wrote that the power outage resulting from the fire led to heating issues in the prison during winter.

On the same day the complaint was filed, Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall granted the plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order requiring MDC to resume normal visitation hours immediately. She added that, if the defendant could show cause that visiting hours impacted MDC security and would lead to two hours or more of interruption, the plaintiff would have at least 24 hours notice before suspension of visits occurred. 416 F.Supp.3d 249.

Discovery continued on the case under the supervision of Judge Margo K. Brodie. At a March 1, 2019 hearing, Judge Brodie denied the plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief, saying that it did not have a cause of action, since Sixth Amendment claims must be brought by the person being denied counsel, and a group of attorneys is not within the "zone of interest" permitted by the APA. She offered the plaintiff an opportunity to amend its complaint, but the plaintiff declined to do so. On May 20, 2019, she dismissed the case sua sponte. The clerk filed the dismissal on June 4.

Upon dismissal of the complaint, the plaintiff filed an appeal on June 18, 2019. On March 20, 2020, a Second Circuit panel composed of Judges John M. Walker, Barrington D. Parker, and Susan L. Carney vacated the District Court's judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings on the merits. They stated that the District Court failed to consider the impact of BOP regulations on attorneys accessing clients in its APA zone of interest analysis. 954 F.3d 118.

The appellate panel urged the parties and the District Court to refer this case to mediation. During a March 23, 2020 telephonic hearing, the parties agreed to mediation under the guidance of former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Mediation is ongoing.

Ellen Aldin - 05/26/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) Federal Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description New York-based nonprofit that provides legal defense services for indigent persons in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
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 02/04/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:19-cv-00660-MKB-SMG (E.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0075-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-NY-0075-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order to Show Cause [ECF# 9] (416 F.Supp.3d 249) (E.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0075-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 33] (E.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0075-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 59] (954 F.3d 118)
JC-NY-0075-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Brodie, Margo Kitsy (E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0003 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Carney, Susan Laura (Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004
Gold, Steven M. (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-9000
Hall, LaShann Moutique DeArcy (E.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0002
Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Craig, Matthew J (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Dabbs, Jenna Minicucci (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Hecker, Sean (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Matz, Joshua A (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
White, Benjamin (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Wikstrom, Derek (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0001 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Balaban, Rachel (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004
Eichenholtz, Seth D (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Greene, Sean P (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004 | JC-NY-0075-9000
Nelson, Varuni (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-0004
Solomon, Clayton P (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-9000
Other Lawyers Underwood, Barbara D. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0075-9000

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