University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Gumns v. Edwards PC-LA-0020
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00231-SDD-RLB ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This class action challenges Louisiana's treatment of people in jail and prison who test positive for COVID-19, specifically the policy of transferring both pre-trial and post-conviction patients to the previously-closed Camp J at Angola Prison. On May 15, the court denied the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This class action challenges Louisiana's treatment of people in jail and prison who test positive for COVID-19, specifically the policy of transferring both pre-trial and post-conviction patients to the previously-closed Camp J at Angola Prison. On May 15, the court denied the emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case on June 1. The court dismissed the case without prejudice on June 11.


On April 14, 2020, plaintiffs filed this class action complaint alleging that The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections's (“DOC”) COVID-19 management plan was inconsistent with the CDC Guidance and placed incarcerated individuals at substantial risk of serious harm. Plaintiffs sought to certify a class of all prisoners and pretrial detainees subjected to the medical care policies and practices of the DOC, and subjected to the DOC’s COVID-19 policies and practices. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick.

Specifically, plaintiffs challenged the DOC's plan to transfer COVID-19 patients from prisons and jails across the state to Camp J at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (“LSP”). According to the DOC, patients who test positive for COVID-19 could be transported to LSP’s Camp J for medical isolation. As of April 11, 2020, at least 40 people had been transferred to Camp J. LSP's Camp J was closed in 2018. Previously, it had housed inmates in solitary confinement. According to plaintiffs, the building was notorious for its lack of ventilation, heating, and cooling. Because Camp J’s buildings did not have proper ventilation, plaintiffs argued that its facilities were extremely inappropriate for housing patients with COVID-19, an illness that causes severe respiratory symptoms. Moreover, Camp J was located over an hour away from the nearest medical facility, and plaintiffs alleged that LSP was unable to provide constitutionally adequate medical support on-site.

Moreover, plaintiffs alleged that the DOC’s response to COVID-19, including the DOC's 10-page "Flu Regulation" policy, was insufficient to address the pandemic and therefore increased the likelihood that COVID-19 patients would not receive proper treatment. Additionally, plaintiffs alleged that the DOC was not implementing a policy consistent with CDC recommendations, including social distancing and effective quarantining.

Also on April 14, 2020, plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to enjoin Defendants from transferring COVID-19 patients to LSP. A hearing was held on April 30, 2020.

On April 25, 2020, Plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification. The proposed class consisted of two subclasses: (1) a subclass of all incarcerated individuals who were, or would in the future be, subjected to the medical care policies and practices of the DOC, and subjected to DOC’s COVID-19 policies and practices; and (2) a subclass of all individuals held in pre-trial detention who were, or would in the future be, subjected to the medical care policies and practices of the DOC, and subjected to the DOC’s COVID-19 policies and practices.

On May 15, 2020, Judge Dick denied plaintiffs' emergency motion for a temporary restraining order. 2020 WL 2510248. On May 18, 2020, the defendants filed a memorandum in opposition to plaintiffs' motion to certify the class.

On June 1, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case. In light of this, the court found the motion to certify moot on June 5 and dismissed the case without prejudice on June 11.

Elena Malik - 06/02/2020
Averyn Lee - 07/17/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
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) State of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description All prisoners and pretrial detainees who are, or will in the future be, subjected to the medical care policies and practices of the DOC, and subjected to the DOC’s COVID-19 policies and practices.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 04/14/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:20-cv-00231-SDD-RLB (M.D. La.)
PC-LA-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-LA-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declarations of Dr. Michael Puisis and Dr. Susi Vassallo Concerning the Risk of COVID-19 in the Louisiana State Prison (LSP) at Angola [ECF# 1-2 & 1-3]
PC-LA-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Enjoining Defendants from Transferring Covid-19 to Louisiana State Penitentiary and Memorandum in Support [ECF# 2 & 2-1]
PC-LA-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declarations in Support of Plaintiff's Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Enjoining Defendants from Transferring Covid-19 to Louisiana State Penitentiary and Memorandum in Support [ECF #2, 2-1] and [Proposed] Order [ECF# 2-2 to 2-9]
PC-LA-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Enjoining Defendants from Transferring COVID-19 Carriers to Louisiana State Penitentiary and Memorandum in Support [ECF# 15 (& 15-1 to 15-8)]
PC-LA-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Restrain Defendants from Transferring COVID-19 Carriers to Louisiana State Penitentiary [ECF# 24 (& 24-1 to 24-4)]
PC-LA-0020-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 25 (& 25-1 to 25-10)]
PC-LA-0020-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Leave to File Reply in Support of Emergency Motion to Restrain Defendants from Transferring COVID-19 Car to Louisiana State Penitentiary [ECF# 26 & 26-1 to 26-16]
PC-LA-0020-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 32]
PC-LA-0020-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Post-Hearing Memorandum in Support of Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 48]
PC-LA-0020-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class Action [ECF# 59]
PC-LA-0020-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 60]
PC-LA-0020-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bourgeois, Richard L. (M.D. La.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-9000
Dick, Shelly Deckert (M.D. La.) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bangle, Lacey (California) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Davidson, Jared (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0001 | PC-LA-0020-0003 | PC-LA-0020-0005 | PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Frase, Sharon (California) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Haag, Melinda (California) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Johnson, Jamila A. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0001 | PC-LA-0020-0003 | PC-LA-0020-0005 | PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Kumar, Nishi Lal (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0001 | PC-LA-0020-0002 | PC-LA-0020-0003 | PC-LA-0020-0005 | PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Montagnes, Mercedes Hardy (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0001 | PC-LA-0020-0003 | PC-LA-0020-0005 | PC-LA-0020-0006 | PC-LA-0020-0007 | PC-LA-0020-0010 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Archey, Connell Lee (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0008 | PC-LA-0020-0011
Fernandez, Keith (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0008 | PC-LA-0020-0011 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Frederick, Zelma M. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0009 | PC-LA-0020-0012 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Hicks, Michael Brent (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0009 | PC-LA-0020-0012 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Humbles, Kimberly L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0012
Landry, Jeff (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0008 | PC-LA-0020-0011
McCain, Allena (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0011
McCall, Julie Moffett (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0008 | PC-LA-0020-0011 | PC-LA-0020-9000
McCay, David L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0012
O'Brien, Juston M. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0009 | PC-LA-0020-0012 | PC-LA-0020-9000
Robert, Randal J. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PC-LA-0020-0008 | PC-LA-0020-0011 | PC-LA-0020-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -