University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Hallinan v. Scarantino PC-NC-0020
Docket / Court 5:20-hc-02088 ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on behalf of all individuals incarcerated at FCI Butner, seeking release as well as mitigation measures due to COVID-19. The court denied the plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and writ of habeas corpus on June 1 ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action filed on behalf of all individuals incarcerated at FCI Butner, seeking release as well as mitigation measures due to COVID-19. The court denied the plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and writ of habeas corpus on June 11, 2020.


On May 26, 2020, eleven people incarcerated in the Federal Corrections Institute Butner Low (FCI Butner) filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, and private counsel, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02 and the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, they alleged that their continued detention and the defendants' failure to provide adequate protections from COVID-19 was cruel and unusual punishment. The case was assigned to Judge Louise Wood Flanagan.

In their complaint, plaintiffs asserted that "hundreds of incarcerated people and staff have been infected and eight people housed at Butner have already died from COVID-19." Plaintiffs further contended that the facility was severely overcrowded, with "4,438 men . . . crammed into a space meant for no more than 3,998."

The plaintiffs sued on behalf of all those who were or would be incarcerated at FCI Butner during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also included subclasses fo those who were over the age of 50, or who were medically vulnerable due to underlying health conditions.

On May 28, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and writ of habeas corpus, requesting the release of inmates deemed appropriate for release and a mitigation plan that included testing, medical isolation, social distancing, and proper hygiene.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or alternatively, a motion for summary judgment on June 3, arguing that the court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs had failed to exhaust under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. They also argued that the purported class did not meet the requirements for class certification.

On June 11, Judge Flanagan denied the plaintiffs motion for temporary restraining order preliminary injunction, and writ of habeas corpus. 2020 WL 3105094. Judge Flanagan stating that while the plaintiffs had demonstrated irreparable injury, they had not shown they were likely to succeed on the merits and that the defendants had made reasonable efforts to prevent unnecessary illness and death

The case is ongoing.

Caitlin Kierum - 06/14/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Suspension Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Butner Low Federal Correctional Complex
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description Individuals at FCI Butner Low, on behalf of all those who were or would be incarcerated at FCI Butner
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Washington Lawyers' Committee
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
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
Filed 05/26/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
5:20-hc-2088 (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-NC-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Petitioners/Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 25]
PC-NC-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Respondents' Preliminary Response to Petitioners' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 27]
PC-NC-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Respondents' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 35]
PC-NC-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 62] (2020 WL 3105094) (E.D.N.C.)
PC-NC-0020-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Flanagan, Louise W. (E.D.N.C.) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0004 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Ashley R. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Doerr, Patrick (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Graunke, Kristi L. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Gunston, Emily A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Hinger, Sarah (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Ireland, Elizabeth (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Maffetore, Jaclyn A. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Morris, Maria (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Niles, Lyndsay Ayanna (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Scavo, Gretchen (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Scavone, Kelly M (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001
Seawell, Emily Elizabeth (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005
Wilkerson, Jeffrey S. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0001 | PC-NC-0020-0005 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bredenberg, Michael D. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0002 | PC-NC-0020-0003 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Higdon, Robert Jr. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0002 | PC-NC-0020-0003
Petre, Genna D. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0002 | PC-NC-0020-0003 | PC-NC-0020-9000
Rogers, Joshua L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-NC-0020-0002 | PC-NC-0020-0003 | PC-NC-0020-9000

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