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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name NC NAACP v. Cooper PC-NC-0019
Docket / Court 20CVS500110 ( State Court )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a state prison case filed in light of COVID-19, alleging that the failure to protect inmates from COVID-19 amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The court granted a preliminary injunction on June 16, requiring the defendants to begin making plans for the release of ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a state prison case filed in light of COVID-19, alleging that the failure to protect inmates from COVID-19 amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The court granted a preliminary injunction on June 16, requiring the defendants to begin making plans for the release of inmates and to improve conditions in the prison by testing and management.


The North Carolina Conference of the NAACP, Disability Rights North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and four individual plaintiffs brought this suit and petition for writ of mandamus against North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and several parole commissioners. The suit was filed in the North Carolina Superior Court for Wake County on April 20, 2020. The complaint was filed amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, at a time where prisons across the country were among the institutions hardest hit by the disease. Plaintiffs alleged that the state's failure to protect prisoners from COVID-19 in prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the state's constitution. Plaintiffs therefore requested declaratory relief, injunctive relief including creating more distance between inmates, and costs and attorney's fees.

On May 1, the court issued an order asking defendants for more information. Defendants responded a week later.

On the 13th of May, the court denied plaintiff's request for a writ of mandamus and the temporary restraining order.

Meanwhile, between April 28 and June 3, the court had held a series of hearings regarding a preliminary injunction. On June 16, the court issued an order granting the preliminary injunction, finding that defendants were indeed in violation of the state constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The injunction mandated that defendants work with partners that would be willing to help serve inmates, authorized the defendants to start finding which inmates would be candidates for release, and told parties to work together to come up with a plan to test inmates and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the prisons.

The case is ongoing as of July 16, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 07/16/2020


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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 granted
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper
Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
Plaintiff Description ACLU of North Carolina, NAACP of North Carolina, Disability Rights of North Carolina, and several individuals
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 04/20/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Emergency Original Petition for Writ of Mandamus
PC-NC-0019-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Petition for Writ of Mandamus
PC-NC-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2020
Source: State Court Website
Order for Additional Information
PC-NC-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Preliminary Injunction
PC-NC-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2020
Source: State Court Website
Defendants' Response to Request for Additional Information
PC-NC-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2020
Source: State Court Website
show all people docs
Judges Rozier, Jr., Vinston Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0001 | PC-NC-0019-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Atkinson, Daryl (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Blagrove, Dawn N. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Carpenter, Whitley (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Como, Irena (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Grafstein, Lisa (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Graunke, Kristi L. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Joyner, Irving (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Kang, Leah J. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Pollitt, Susan H. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Siegel, Daniel K. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Simpson, Elizabeth Guild (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Watson, K. Ricky Jr. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003
Woollard, Luke (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0019-0002 | PC-NC-0019-0003

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