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Case Name Jones v. Hill PC-GA-0025
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-02791-ELR ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: Four incarcerated individuals filed this class-action lawsuit against the Clayton County Jail based on conditions-of-confinement claims, as well as a habeas claim, a Rehabilitation Act claim, and an ADA claim. The suit remains ongoing.


Four individuals incarcerated ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: Four incarcerated individuals filed this class-action lawsuit against the Clayton County Jail based on conditions-of-confinement claims, as well as a habeas claim, a Rehabilitation Act claim, and an ADA claim. The suit remains ongoing.


Four individuals incarcerated in the Clayton County Jail filed this complaint against the Clayton County Sheriff, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, on July 1, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping through jails and prisons across the country, and the plaintiffs alleged that the jail was ignoring the health and safety of its inmates. Instead of decreasing its population, like jails and prisons across the country and across Georgia, the jail was increasing its population. The jail was infested with mold, mildew, cockroaches, and rodents, inmates were told to use underwear for face coverings, and many were forced to sleep on the floor next to open toilets. Social distancing was nonexistent, jail staff did not educate inmates about COVID-19 risks or prevention, and inmates who became ill were waiting up to a week to be treated by medical staff.

Represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Georgia, and the Southern Center for Human Rights, the plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Because their incarceration was unconstitutional, they argued, the court should issue a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §§2241 and 2243. They also brought claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, and sought a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. §2201-2202. The petition was assigned to Judge Eleanor L. Ross, but she later recused herself and the case was reassigned to Judge J. P. Boulee.

The plaintiffs sought certification of two classes, each with two subclasses:
    the Pretrial Class, composed of all inmates who were at the jail awaiting trial, including:
    • a Medically Vulnerable Subclass (inmates with medical conditions which placed them at higher risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19), and
    • a Disabilities Subclass (inmates whose medical conditions also qualified as disabilities under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act); and
    the Post-Adjudication Class, composed of all inmates who were serving time in the prison following conviction of a crime, including:
    • a Medically Vulnerable Subclass (inmates with medical conditions which placed them at higher risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19), and
    • a Disabilities Subclass (inmates whose medical conditions also qualified as disabilities under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act).
They sought release or transfer for all members of the Medically Vulnerable and Disabilities Subclasses; an injunction requiring the jail to adopt measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection for the remaining inmates (including social distancing and personal protective equipment); a writ of habeas corpus directing the immediate transfer or release of the Medically Vulnerable and Disability Subclasses; and attorneys’ fees and costs.

The court denied the request for preliminary injunctive relief on July 9, 2020, stating that such a request must be made by separate motion, not in the complaint. The plaintiffs filed a separate motion for a preliminary injunction on July 27, 2020.

The defendants moved to dismiss the claims on August 3. The defendants argued that they were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and that the plaintiffs failed to state both a habeas claim and an ADA claim. Before ruling on the motion, the Court granted the plaintiffs motion for an expedited discovery. On September 16, 2020, Magistrate Judge Christopher Bly recommended that one plaintiffs claims be dismissed as he had been released from jail, but advised that the other claims should proceed.

As of October 30, Judge Boulee had not granted or denied the motion and the case remains ongoing.

Gregory Marsh - 07/29/2020


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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
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Requested
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
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Jail Administrator
Jail Security Operations Section Commander
Sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia
Plaintiff Description Inmates at the Clayton County Jail (Georgia) threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)
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 07/01/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuit Against Clayton County Sheriff for Failure to Protect People in Jain from Escalating COVID-19 Outbreak
American Civil Liberties Union
Date: Jul. 2, 2020
By: American Civil Liberties Union
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:20-cv-02791-ELR-CCB (N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0025-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
PC-GA-0025-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2020
Source: ACLU
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 7 & 7-1]
PC-GA-0025-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 8] (N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0025-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 19 (19-1 to 19-5 and 19-15) ]
PC-GA-0025-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 23-1]
PC-GA-0025-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss I. Argument and Citation to Authority [ECF# 40]
PC-GA-0025-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Non-Final Report and Recommendation [ECF# 52] (N.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0025-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 57]
PC-GA-0025-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bly, Christopher C. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0007 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Boulee, Jean-Paul (N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-9000
Ross, Eleanor Louise (N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0003 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Buskey, Brandon (New York) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Cutting, Jeremy Dakota (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Hunter, Robert W. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Lopez-Delgado, Andres Martin (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-9000
Pevar, Stephen L. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Primerano, Ryan (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Tucker, Kosha S (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0001 | PC-GA-0025-0002 | PC-GA-0025-0004 | PC-GA-0025-0008 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hancock, Jack Reynolds (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0005 | PC-GA-0025-0006 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Loken, Jacob (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0005 | PC-GA-0025-0006 | PC-GA-0025-9000
Sabzevari, Arash Ali (Georgia) show/hide docs
PC-GA-0025-0005 | PC-GA-0025-0006 | PC-GA-0025-9000

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