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Case Name Frazier v. Kelley PC-AR-0015
Docket / Court 4:20-cv-00434 ( E.D. Ark. )
Additional Docket(s) 4:20-cv-00435  [ 20-435 ]  Eastern District of AR (U.S.)
4:20-cv-00436  [ 20-436 ]  Eastern District of AR (U.S.)
4:20-cv-00437  [ 20-437 ]  Eastern District of AR (U.S.)
4:20-cv-00438  [ 20-438 ]  Eastern District of AR (U.S.)
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a putative class action brought on April 21, 2020, by eleven individuals held at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, requesting reasonable accommodations for those incarcerated who face health risks from COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought a TRO and preliminary injunction ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a putative class action brought on April 21, 2020, by eleven individuals held at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, requesting reasonable accommodations for those incarcerated who face health risks from COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought a TRO and preliminary injunction requesting the immediate release and home confinement of those who are at high-risk due to age or medical conditions, and those with disabilities. The plaintiffs' TRO and preliminary injunction were denied on May 4 and May 19, respectively. The case is ongoing.


On April 21, 2020, eleven individuals held at the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) filed this emergency putative class action against the State of Arkansas at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs, representing a proposed class of those currently incarcerated or to be incarcerated in the ADC during the COVID-19 pandemic, brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. under § 2241, and as an injunctive and declaratory action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, they alleged that the ADC lacked reasonable safety precautions for incarcerated individuals in violation of their Eighth Amendment rights. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that the denial of reasonable accommodations recommended by the CDC for correctional facilities constituted illegal discrimination against individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plaintiffs sought declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and/or a writ of habeas corpus for the release of at-risk populations, appropriate COVID-19 measures, and a monitor with medical expertise to ensure compliance. The plaintiffs were represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Disability Rights Arkansas, the Arkansas Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and private attorneys. The case was assigned to Judge Kristine G Baker and referred to Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe.

Within the proposed class were two subclasses facing a heightened risk of death or injury: the “High-Risk Subclass,” comprised of detainees over the age of 50 or with serious medical conditions, and the “Disability Subclass,” comprised of detainees with disabilities. On April 21, the plaintiffs submitted an emergency motion for TRO (temporary restraining order) and injunctive relief requiring the defendants to immediately release or transfer members of the High Risk and Disability subclass.

The plaintiffs submitted a supplemental motion for TRO and preliminary injunction on April 27, requesting that the court immediately issue a TRO requiring defendants to undertake basic social distancing and sanitation measures, in addition to the demands stipulated in the initial motion for TRO. The defendants submitted a response in opposition to the initial TRO on April 30, arguing that the ADC had already implemented most of the remedial measures the plaintiffs had requested.

The supplementary TRO was denied on May 4, 2020, however the initial emergency motion for TRO and preliminary injunction matter remained pending. 2020 WL 2110896.

Following a hearing on May 7, on May 19, the court denied the initial motion for TRO and preliminary injunction, finding that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their Eighth Amendment and ADA claims -- additionally finding that the defendants had taken steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 by limiting visitors, providing health and safety information, providing protective equipment, enhancing hygiene and sanitation of the facilities, and implementing social distancing and release measures. 2020 WL 2561956.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on June 22, claiming sovereign immunity, the plaintiffs' failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust state remedies.

On July 13, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which added additional plaintiffs and the Arkansas Department of Health as a defendant. In this complaint, the plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants intentionally discriminated against the members of the Disability Subclass members against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A subset of the defendants filed another motion to dismiss on August 18, claiming failure to state a claim for similar reasons as their previous motion. They also argued that the plaintiffs' added ADA claim failed to seek any reasonable accommodation that the defendants did not already provide, and sought accommodations that plaintiffs never requested before bringing suit.

A subset of the plaintiffs filed a stipulation of dismissal on October 1, which was adopted by the court on October 16. The Governor of Arkansas was dismissed from the case without prejudice and the court also allowed the dismissal of the claims of three plaintiffs without prejudice. An additional stipulation of dismissal was filed on December 18 2020 and adopted on December 28, 2020. That order dismissed claims by three plaintiffs without prejudice and dismissed Jerry Bradshaw from this action without prejudice.

On February 4, 2021, Defendant Wellpath, LLC, which provides healthcare services to inmates in DOC facilities, filed a motion to dismiss claiming failure to state a claim and immunity as an emergency responder under the Arkansas Emergency Services Act.

The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 09/23/2020
Nicholas Gillan - 11/12/2020
Tessa McEvoy - 03/06/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
COVID-19
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Denied
Release Requested
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Arkansas Board of Corrections
Division of Community Correction Director
Division of Correction Director
Governor of Arkansas
Secretary of Arkansas Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Eleven detainees held at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, requesting release and reasonable accommodations for incarcerated individuals facing health risks from COVID-19. The proposed class includes a “High-Risk Subclass,” comprised of detainees aged 50 or over or with serious medical conditions, and a “Disability Subclass.”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
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)
  Frazier v. Kelley: LDF Files Complaint against Arkansas Officials Allowing COVID-19 to Decimate Prisons
https://www.naacpldf.org/
Date: May 4, 2020
By: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Civil Rights Lawyers File Complaint Against State Officials Over COVID-19 Outbreaks in Arkansas State Prisons
https://www.acluarkansas.org/
Date: Apr. 21, 2020
By: ACLU of Arkansas
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Ark.
02/18/2021
4:20-cv-00435
PC-AR-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Ark.
04/21/2020
Class Action Complaint and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus TRO Requested [ECF# 1]
PC-AR-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
04/21/2020
Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 2, 3 & 3-1 to 3-12]
PC-AR-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
04/27/2020
Plaintiffs' Supplemental Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 22, 22-1 & 23]
PC-AR-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
04/30/2020
Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motions for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction with Exhibits 1 to 14 [ECF# 36 & 36-1 to 36-14]
PC-AR-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
04/30/2020
Exhibits 15 to 28 of Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motions for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 36-15 to 25-28]
PC-AR-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
04/30/2020
Exhibits 29 to 42 of Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motions for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 36-29 to 36-42]
PC-AR-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/04/2020
Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 42 & 42-1] (2020 WL 2110896)
PC-AR-0015-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/04/2020
Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 44]
PC-AR-0015-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/04/2020
Exhibits 1 to 26 for Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 46 & 46-1 to 46-26]
PC-AR-0015-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/04/2020
Exhibits 27 to 37 for Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 46-27 to 46-37]
PC-AR-0015-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/04/2020
Exhibits 38 to 54 for Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 46-38 to 46-54]
PC-AR-0015-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/08/2020
Defendants' Hearing Brief in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 64]
PC-AR-0015-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/08/2020
Post-Hearing Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 65]
PC-AR-0015-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
05/19/2020
Order Denying Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 68] (2020 WL 2561956)
PC-AR-0015-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
06/04/2020
Order [ECF# 74]
PC-AR-0015-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
06/22/2020
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 76 & 76-1]
PC-AR-0015-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
07/13/2020
Amended Class Action Complaint and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 84]
PC-AR-0015-0017.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
08/18/2020
Brief in Support of the State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [ECF# 96]
PC-AR-0015-0018.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
12/28/2020
Order [ECF# 119]
PC-AR-0015-0020.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
02/04/2021
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Class Action Complaint as to Wellpath [ECF# 140]
PC-AR-0015-0021.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baker, Kristine Gerhard (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0007 | PC-AR-0015-0014 | PC-AR-0015-0015 | PC-AR-0015-0020 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Everett, Sarah (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Fernandez, Laura (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Genecin, Victor (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-9000
Irish, Corrine A (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Kemmitt, Christopher (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Kendall, George H. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Koonce, Amber (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-9000
Lee, Jin Hee (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Merle, Natasha C. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Nichols, Thomas W (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-9000
Nurse−Guilford, Jenay Aretha (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Okonta, Patricia (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Park, Cristy L (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Quereshi, Ajmel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Shukur, Omavi (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Spital, Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0002 | PC-AR-0015-0003 | PC-AR-0015-0008 | PC-AR-0015-0013 | PC-AR-0015-0017 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Almefty, Kynda (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0021 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Bronni, Nicholas Jacob (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Dougherty, Kirkman T (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-9000
Garner, Jerry D (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Hatfield, Jeffrey Wahl (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-9000
Merritt, Jennifer L (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Rutledge, Leslie (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018
Steinberg, Asher (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018 | PC-AR-0015-9000
Wagner, Vincent Moore (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PC-AR-0015-0004 | PC-AR-0015-0012 | PC-AR-0015-0016 | PC-AR-0015-0018 | PC-AR-0015-9000

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