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Case Name Swain v. Junior JC-FL-0025
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-21457 ( S.D. Fla. )
Additional Docket(s) 20-11622  [ 20-11622 ]  Federal Court of Appeals
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Advancement Project
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: On April 4, 2020, individuals detained in Miami-Dade County jails filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeking habeas, injunctive, and declaratory relief. The court granted plaintiff’s motion for a TRO and preliminary ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: On April 4, 2020, individuals detained in Miami-Dade County jails filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeking habeas, injunctive, and declaratory relief. The court granted plaintiff’s motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction in part, and the defendants appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. On June 15, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction. A jury trial is scheduled for March 1, 2021.


On April 4, 2020, individuals detained in the Miami-Dade County jails filed this class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The plaintiffs, who alleged they were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, sued the County and County officials. The plaintiffs, represented by the Advancement Project, Community Justice Project, Civil Rights Corps, and Dream Defenders, sought a writ of habeas corpus and injunctive and declaratory relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They claimed that the defendants violated their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that conditions at the Metro West jail endangered their health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. They alleged that the defendants failed to provide basic hygiene supplies, health care, testing, or social distancing. The plaintiffs argued that the risk was severe because at least 15 jail employees had tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 4.

On April 5, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs asked the court to require defendants to take basic steps to safeguard the health of individuals at the jail who, due to their confinement, experienced an increased risk of infection and death. Plaintiffs also sought immediate release for people who were particularly vulnerable because of age or preexisting medical conditions.

Also on April 5, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification. The class would include “all current and future persons detained at Metro West during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Separately, the plaintiffs defined a medically-vulnerable subclass as “all current and future persons held at Metro West over the age of fifty, as well as all current and future persons held at Metro West of any age who experience an underlying medical condition that places them at particular risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.” The subclass sought a writ of habeas corpus.

The court held a conference on the TRO order on April 6 before Judge Kathleen Williams. On April 7, the court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres for discovery issues.

Also on April 7, Judge Williams issued an order granting in part plaintiff’s emergency motion for a TRO. The order required that by April 9, defendants file under seal a list of all medically vulnerable individuals who were detained at Metro West and a notice describing the particular measures they employed to protect these individuals from the risk of COVID-19. Further, the court ordered that defendants communicate sufficient information about COVID-19 and measures taken to reduce risk, implement social distancing measures, ensure that each incarcerated person receives free hygiene products, provide reasonable access to showers and laundry, require jail staff to wear PPE and regularly wash their hands, ensure proper testing for individuals with symptoms, and waive charges for medical care. To address individuals diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, the court ordered that defendants provide adequate medical care and quarantine procedures that allow continued access to showers, mental health services, and phone calls with family without placing these individuals in cells used for disciplinary confinement. 2020 WL 1692668.

On April 21, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

The court granted in part the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, but denied their request for immediate release on April 29. 2020 WL 2078580. The preliminary injunction was in effect for a period of 45 days and required the defendants to implement adequate distancing, communication, hygienic supplies, testing, and medical care free of charge for COVID-19 related symptoms. The defendants were also required to provide the court a report of COVID-19 population every three days and a proposal outlining steps to ensure additional social distancing safeguards within 7 days. One of the plaintiffs, Winfred Hill, was released the week before the order and his claims were dismissed as moot.

The same day, the defendants appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. On May 5, the Eleventh Circuit granted the defendant’s motion for a stay pending appeal, staying the injunction issued by the District Court requiring COVID-19 safety measures. 958 F.3d 1081.

A group of corrections experts and a separate group of Eighth Amendment scholars filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs.

On June 2, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of plaintiff Winfred Hill's claims as moot. They argued that the court intended to dismiss all of Hill’s claims, even those on behalf of the class. Therefore, they sought an order clarifying that Hill's claims on behalf of the class were not moot. The defendants did not oppose the motion and the court ordered that the claims of any released plaintiffs on behalf of the class were not moot on June 17. The motion was later denied on July 28.

On June 15, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction and remanded the case back to the district court. 958 F.3d 1081. The appellate court found that the district court erred in concluding that the plaintiffs had met the deliberate indifference requirement for the preliminary injunction, stating that “[f]ailing to do the ‘impossible’ doesn’t evince indifference, let alone deliberate indifference.”

A jury trial is scheduled for March 1, 2021. The case is ongoing.

Lily Sawyer-Kaplan - 04/16/2020
Averyn Lee - 08/05/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Requested
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Director of the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department
Miami-Dade County
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs are individuals detained in the Miami-Dade County jail. The include “all current and future persons detained at Metro West during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic” and a medically-vulnerable subclass as “all current and future persons held at Metro West over the age of fifty" or with "underlying medical condition that places them at particular risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Advancement Project
Civil Rights Corps
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None yet
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 04/05/2020
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)
  Miami, Florida: COVID-19 & Jails
http://www.civilrightscorps.org/
Date: Jun. 2, 2020
By: Civil Rights Corps
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:20-cv-21457 (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0025-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-FL-0025-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 3 (& 3-1 to 3-14)]
JC-FL-0025-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Incorporated Memorandum of Law [ECF# 5 (& 5-1 to 5-6)]
JC-FL-0025-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Dr. Fred Rottnek [ECF# 11, 11-1]
JC-FL-0025-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Dr. Armen Henderson [ECF# 17, 17-1]
JC-FL-0025-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting In Part Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion For A Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 25] (2020 WL 1692668) (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0025-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Count 1 of the Complaint for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies [ECF# 66 (& 66-1 to 66-5)]
JC-FL-0025-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply in Further Support of Their Motion to Dismiss Count 1 of the Complaint for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies [ECF# 91]
JC-FL-0025-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 100] (2020 WL 2078580) (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0025-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellants' Opposed Emergency Motion to Stay Injunction Pending Appeal [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-8]
JC-FL-0025-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: Bloomberg Law
Appellees' Opposition to Emergency Motion to Stay Injunction Pending Appeal [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-17]
JC-FL-0025-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: Bloomberg Law
Published Order [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-22] (2020 WL 2161317)
JC-FL-0025-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Complaint [ECF# 119, 119-1, 119-2, 119-3]
JC-FL-0025-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Emergency Motion to Release Plaintiff Anthony Swain on Bail Pending Review of the Class Action Habeas Petition [ECF# 122]
JC-FL-0025-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion for Convening of Three-judge Panel (ECF 85) [ECF# 125]
JC-FL-0025-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply to Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 136]
JC-FL-0025-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Corrections Experts as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees and Affirmance
JC-FL-0025-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Eighth Amendment Scholars as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
JC-FL-0025-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Brief for Appellants
JC-FL-0025-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration of Interlocutory Ruling Contained in Injunction Order (ECF No. 100 at 2 n.2) [ECF# 142 (& 142-1)]
JC-FL-0025-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Opinion] (2020 WL 3167628)
JC-FL-0025-0020.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Branch, Elizabeth Lee (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0012
Martin, Beverly Baldwin (N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0020
Newsom, Kevin Christopher (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0020
Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0012
Torres, Edwin G. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-9000
Williams, Kathleen Mary (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0001 | JC-FL-0025-0009 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Harvey, Thomas B (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Jagannath, Meena (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0011 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Ragsdale, Maya (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021
Rodriguez-Taseff, Lida (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0011 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Sanoja, Katherine Alena (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Smith, Rodney Quinn II (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Twinem, Alexandria (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Yang, Tiffany S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0002 | JC-FL-0025-0003 | JC-FL-0025-0004 | JC-FL-0025-0005 | JC-FL-0025-0006 | JC-FL-0025-0013 | JC-FL-0025-0014 | JC-FL-0025-0015 | JC-FL-0025-0021 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Greenberg, Ezra Saul (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-0010 | JC-FL-0025-0018 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Hochstadt, Jennifer Laura (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Pastor, Bernard (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-0010 | JC-FL-0025-0016 | JC-FL-0025-0018 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Price-Williams, Abigail (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-0010 | JC-FL-0025-0016 | JC-FL-0025-0018
Rosenthal, Oren (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0010 | JC-FL-0025-0018
Viciana, Ana Angelica (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-0016 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Vosseler, Zachary Edward (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-0010 | JC-FL-0025-0016 | JC-FL-0025-0018 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Zaron, Erica Sunny Shultz (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0007 | JC-FL-0025-0008 | JC-FL-0025-9000
Other Lawyers Jefferis, Danielle C. (Colorado) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0017
Kim, Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0019
Saleh, Sumayya (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0019
Santos, Jaime A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0025-0019

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