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Case Name Seth v. McDonough JC-MD-0017
Docket / Court 8:20-cv-01028 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This class action challenged COVID-related conditions at the Prince Georges County jail, seeking mitigation and release. On May 21, the court granted in part the plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order. Defendants appealed and were denied a stay pending their appeal. On ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This class action challenged COVID-related conditions at the Prince Georges County jail, seeking mitigation and release. On May 21, the court granted in part the plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order. Defendants appealed and were denied a stay pending their appeal. On July 7, the plaintiffs submitted an amended complaint, pointing to the lack of mental health services during an indefinite lockdown.


On April 21, 2020, pretrial and post-conviction detainees at Prince George’s County Jail, many of whom have pre-existing medical conditions, some of whom were exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, and all of whom were scared of contracting the virus, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections in her official capacity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The plaintiffs, represented by Civil Rights Corps, sought constitutionally sufficient procedures to protect their health and safety that are consistent with CDC guidelines and the judgment of correctional health specialists. The plaintiffs claimed that they had been deprived of their rights to reasonably safe living conditions under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and that defendant’s policy of detaining COVID-positive people in the Jail who are legally entitled to release violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, a subclass of plaintiffs who are medically vulnerable and being held pre-trial claimed that they are being held in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction, requested a hearing, and moved to certify a class.

On April 23, District Court Judge Paula Xinis ordered the defendant to file a response to plaintiffs’ motion for a TRO by April 25, and for plaintiffs to reply by April 27. Judge Xinis also directed the parties to submit a joint recommendation for an Independent Inspector by April 27, or two recommendations each, with supporting documents, if they are unable to agree.

Defendant filed their response in opposition to plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order on April 25 under seal. Plaintiffs filed their reply on April 29. On April 30, each party individually recommended two experts. On May 1, Judge Xinis appointed Carlos Franco-Paredes, MD, MPH as inspector, pursuant to the plaintiffs' recommendation.

On May 21, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion for temporary restraining order. The court ordered a written plan or protocol to be completed within five days that addressed:
1. The identification, monitoring, treatment, and housing of detainees who are “high risk” (aged 65 or over and/or have an applicable medical condition) for suffering adverse outcomes if infected with COVID-19.
2. The training, education, and supervision of defendant's staff (medical and corrections officers)
3. A protocol for testing and isolation of detainees

The court also ordered the defendants to submit the following within fourteen days:
1. The total number of tests administered and the total number of confirmed COVID-19 positive detainees
2. A written plan or protocol regarding the provision of adequate cleaning supplies and face masks, as well as social distancing measures

On May 26, the defendants appealed to the Fourth Circuit and filed a motion to stay pending appeal. The defendant's motion to stay pending appeal was denied by the district court on June 3, and by the Fourth Circuit on June 10. The plaintiffs moved to dismiss the appeal on June 4.

As of June 18, 715 individuals have been tested for COVID-19, with 26 positive results. Those with a positive test result were moved to medical isolation.

Status conferences were held between June 22 and July 2. On July 2, the court denied the plaintiff's preliminary injunction, and the TRO expired.

On July 7, the plaintiffs submitted an amended complaint, stating that in the four months since the initial complaint was filed, indefinite lockdown continued at the Jail, with detainees reporting no more than one or two hours of time out of their cells per day. The plaintiffs alleged a violation of the detainees' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, pointing to a lack of mental health services while detainees are anxious, depressed, and suicidal due to the indefinite lockdown.

On July 17, the defendant moved to dismiss the case, or alternatively, sought summary judgment. The defendant claimed that all of the released plaintiffs’ claims are moot because they are no longer in their custody, and that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for relief.

The case is ongoing.

Claire Shimberg - 05/02/2020
Averyn Lee - 08/03/2020


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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
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
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 Prince George's County Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Pretrial and post-conviction detainees at Prince George’s County Jail, many of whom have pre-existing medical conditions and some of whom were exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms The proposed class include: a Pretrial Class, Post-Conviction Class, and the Medically Vulnerable Subclass (defined as those especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as determined by the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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 04/21/2020
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)
  Prince George's County, Maryland: COVID-19 & Jails
http://www.civilrightscorps.org/
Date: Jul. 3, 2020
By: Civil Rights Corps
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
8:20-cv-1028 (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 2]
JC-MD-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appendix of Exhibits for Class Action Complaint [ECF# 2-1]
JC-MD-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 3 & 3-1 to 3-2]
JC-MD-0017-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 4 & 4-1 to 4-2]
JC-MD-0017-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 24, 24-1] (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 44]
JC-MD-0017-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 53] (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Mary Lou McDonough's Answer to Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241 [ECF# 70]
JC-MD-0017-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 84] (2020 WL 2571168) (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 85] (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Director Mary Lou McDonough's Five Day Response to the Court's May 21, 2020 Order [ECF# 88, 88-1, 88-2, 88-3, 88-4]
JC-MD-0017-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Opposed Emergency Motion To Stay Pending Appeal [ECF# 90 (& 90-1 to 90-9)]
JC-MD-0017-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Stay the Court’s May 21, 2020 TRO [ECF# 92]
JC-MD-0017-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter Order [ECF# 94] (D. Md.)
JC-MD-0017-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's 14-Day Reporting as Mandated by the Court's Order of May 21, 2020 [ECF# 95 & 95-1 to 95-4]
JC-MD-0017-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 22411 Statement of the Case [ECF# 124]
JC-MD-0017-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241 [ECF# 124, 124-1]
JC-MD-0017-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Director Mary Lou McDonough's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint or, Alternatively, Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 128 & 128-1 to 128-3]
JC-MD-0017-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Xinis, Paula (D. Md.) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0003 | JC-MD-0017-0004 | JC-MD-0017-0006 | JC-MD-0017-0007 | JC-MD-0017-0011 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boykin, Olevia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0001 | JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0013 | JC-MD-0017-0014 | JC-MD-0017-0016 | JC-MD-0017-0017 | JC-MD-0017-0018 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Brooks, Cadene Russell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0017 | JC-MD-0017-0018 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Downer, Ryan Chasce (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0001 | JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0013 | JC-MD-0017-0014 | JC-MD-0017-0016 | JC-MD-0017-0017 | JC-MD-0017-0018 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-9000
Rossi, Elizabeth Anne (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0001 | JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0013 | JC-MD-0017-0014 | JC-MD-0017-0016 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Ryan, Katherine Chamblee (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0001 | JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0013 | JC-MD-0017-0014 | JC-MD-0017-0016 | JC-MD-0017-0017 | JC-MD-0017-0018 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Williams, Edward Henderson II (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0010 | JC-MD-0017-0017 | JC-MD-0017-0018 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Johnson, Shelley Lynn (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0005 | JC-MD-0017-0008 | JC-MD-0017-0009 | JC-MD-0017-0012 | JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Koshy, Ann Elizabeth (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0005 | JC-MD-0017-0008 | JC-MD-0017-0009 | JC-MD-0017-0012 | JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Lunsford, William R. (Alabama) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Murray, Andrew J. (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0005 | JC-MD-0017-0008 | JC-MD-0017-0009 | JC-MD-0017-0012 | JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Rogers, Stephen C. (Alabama) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Steely, Kenneth Scott (Alabama) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0019 | JC-MD-0017-9000
Weaver, Rhonda L. (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MD-0017-0005 | JC-MD-0017-0008 | JC-MD-0017-0009 | JC-MD-0017-0012 | JC-MD-0017-0019

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