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Case Name Russell v. Wayne County JC-MI-0012
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-11094-MAG-EAS ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Advancement Project
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action complaint brought by six detainees in Wayne County Jail, seeking injunctive, declaratory and habeas relief. The petitioners sought the release or transfers to home confinement of medically vulnerable inmates in light of the virus, as well as an injunction ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action complaint brought by six detainees in Wayne County Jail, seeking injunctive, declaratory and habeas relief. The petitioners sought the release or transfers to home confinement of medically vulnerable inmates in light of the virus, as well as an injunction requiring COVID-19 mitigation measures. The case was almost immediately stayed and the issues moved to a longstanding state-court litigation about the jail's conditions, Wayne County Jail Inmates v. Wayne County Sheriff


On May 4, 2020, six detainees in Wayne County filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Represented by the Advancement Project, Civil Rights Corps, Detroit Justice Center, and private counsel, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. under § 2241, as an injunctive action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and a declaratory action under 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Specifically, they alleged that their detention violated their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by subjecting them to a serious risk of contracting COVID-19. The petitioners sought a temporary restraining order (TRO), injunctive relief, and a writ of habeas corpus requiring defendants to immediately release all subclass members who are medically vulnerable or transfer them to home confinement. They also sought adequate measures for safety and hygiene. The case was assigned to Judge Mark A. Goldsmith.

The same day, the plaintiffs moved to certify the matter as a class action with a proposed class and three subclasses. The “Jail Class” consisted of “all current and future persons detained at the Wayne County Jail during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The subclasses included the “Pre-trial Subclass,” the “Post-conviction Subclass,” and the “Medically Vulnerable Subclass,” defined as: “All members of the Jail Class who are also over the age of fifty, or who, regardless of age, experience an underlying medical condition.”

The plaintiffs also filed an emergency motion to expedite the motion for TRO, stressing that Wayne County Jail had 29 confirmed positive cases amongst detainees and almost 200 amongst staff as of April 30, 2020. At the time of filing, COVID-19 had already killed two jail physicians and two deputies.

The Court suggested the parties discuss whether relief could be sought in state court, where the defendant was a party to a consent decree that monitored the quality of conditions in the jail. Wayne County Jail Inmates v. Wayne County Sheriff. On May 27, the parties agreed to reopen the case underlying the state consent decree and began actively litigating the case in state court.

As such, on June 4, the plaintiffs filed a motion to stay the federal court proceedings, and the defendants filed a motion stating they did not object to the stay on June 24. Further information on the state proceedings can be found in the state court summary, linked above.

Averyn Lee - 06/02/2020
Caitlin Kierum - 07/11/2020


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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
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 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) Chief of Jails and Court Operations
Deputy Chief of Jail Operations
Sheriff for Wayne County
Undersheriff for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office
Wayne County
Plaintiff Description Six detainees in Wayne County Jail, seeking the release or transfer of all medically vulnerable detainees in light of the virus. The proposed “Jail Class” consists of “all current and future persons detained at the Wayne County Jail during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The class is further subdivided into the “Pre-trial Subclass,” the “Post-conviction Subclass,” and the “Medically Vulnerable Subclass.”
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 None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 05/04/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
E.D. Mich. 2:20-cv-11094
JC-MI-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Mich.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-MI-0012-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Exhibits to the Complaint [ECF# 1-1 to 1-16]
JC-MI-0012-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 3 (& 3-1 to 3-15)]
JC-MI-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Emergency Motion for Expedited Consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 4]
JC-MI-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 5 (& 5-1 to 5-7)]
JC-MI-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Defendants' Response in Opposition of Plaintiffs' Motion for Expedited Consideration of Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 10]
JC-MI-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Expedited Consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 17]
JC-MI-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Expedited Consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 17]
JC-MI-0012-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Stay Proceedings [ECF# 30]
JC-MI-0012-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mich.
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Motion for Stay of Proceedings [ECF# 32, 32-1]
JC-MI-0012-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Goldsmith, Mark Allan (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Stafford, Elizabeth A. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Amanda (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Anderson, Khary J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Animashaun, Akeeb Dami (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Carter, Ashley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Ferguson, Desiree M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Harvey, Thomas B (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Keith, Erin (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Kriger, Allison (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Kriger, Mark J (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Moran, Christopher N. (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Nemeth, Miriam R. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Saad, Martin L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Thomas, Sheena R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Wilson, Emily J. (Maryland) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0001 | JC-MI-0012-0003 | JC-MI-0012-0004 | JC-MI-0012-0005 | JC-MI-0012-0006 | JC-MI-0012-0008 | JC-MI-0012-0009
Defendant's Lawyers Chapman, Ronald W. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Hammoud, Souriana (Sue) T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-0002 | JC-MI-0012-0010 | JC-MI-0012-9000
Lanesky, Jonathan C. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
O'Neill, Paul T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000
Stella, Davidde Alessandro (Michigan) show/hide docs
JC-MI-0012-9000

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