In 1986, inmates of Lehigh County Prison (a jail) filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the jail officials. Plaintiffs asserted that the conditions of confinement at the facility constituted a violation of their rights under the Eighth and ...
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In 1986, inmates of Lehigh County Prison (a jail) filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the jail officials. Plaintiffs asserted that the conditions of confinement at the facility constituted a violation of their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, plaintiffs complained of: overcrowding; poor sanitation and living conditions; inadequate medical screening and exercise; and improper classification procedures. The court appointed private counsel and certified the class.
Following 6 days of testimony and argument, the District Court (Judge Huyett) denied plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction, but noted that upon the making of a more complete record the totality of conditions at LCP would be held unconstitutional. Vazquez v. Carver, 1987 WL 14847 (E.D. Pa. July 27, 1987). Following an increase in the population, plaintiffs again sought a preliminary injunction. Judge Huyett granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to reduce the prison population from 420 to 310 inmates within forty-five days. Vazquez v. Carver, 729 F. Supp. 1063 (E.D. Pa. 1989).
In 1990, the parties negotiated a settlement and the court approved the consent decree. The consent decree set population limits and addressed a number of the issues raised in the complaint. The consent decree established a one-year monitoring period with no provision for extension. In 1996, defendants sought to terminate the consent decree under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The District Court (Judge Cahn) held that although the consent decree had not been satisfied so as to otherwise warrant its termination, termination was warranted under the PLRA. Vazquez v. Carver, 18 F. Supp. 2d 503 (E.D. Pa. 1998). Plaintiffs appealed but the Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. Vazquez v. Carver, 181 F.3d 85 (3d Cir. 1999), cert denied, 530 U.S. 1264 (2000).
The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the most recent decision, dated June 26, 2000.Eoghan Keenan - 06/10/2005