On August 19, 2002, female prisoners in Alabama filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The prisoners sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging conditions of their confinement under the Eighth Amendment. This class action suit, brought on behalf of all female state prisoners in Alabama, was based on the following claims of unconstitutional conditions: overcrowding, inadequate supervision in open dorms, inadequate inmate classification, inmate violence, the availability of weapons, the small number of segregation cells, inadequate living space, inadequate ventilation, extreme heat during the summer, and inadequate medical and mental health care. The prisoners were represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights along with several private attorneys.
On December 2, 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (Judge Myron H. Thompson) granted a preliminary injunction to prisoners incarcerated at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women (Tutwiler). Laube v. Haley, 234 F.Supp.2d 1227 (M.D.Ala. 2002). The Court found that significant understaffing in greatly overcrowded inmate dorms resulted in an impermissibly unsafe environment for inmates. The Court also ordered state officials to submit a plan to remedy the unconstitutional conditions. Judge Thompson rejected the initial plan submitted by the state by holding that a lack of funding was no excuse for deficiencies in the plan. Laube v. Haley, 242 F.Supp.2d 1150 (M.D.Ala. 2003).
In February 2003, Judge Thompson granted the defendant's motion to substitute parties. The case was subsequently referred to as Laube v. Campbell. Correctional officers then moved to intervene in the action by contending that the unconstitutional conditions at Tutwiler prevented them from performing duties which were necessary to avoid civil liability and criminal penalties. Judge Thompson denied the motion and held that correctional officers' interests did not warrant intervention. Laube v. Campbell, 215 F.R.D. 655 (M.D.Ala.2003).
On March 28, 2003, Judge Thompson held that that the preliminary injunction had expired. Laube v. Campbell, 255 F.Supp.2d 1301 (M.D.Ala. 2003). The Court found that under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3626, a preliminary injunction automatically expires after 90 days. The Court additionally noted that the prisoners were able to move for another preliminary injunction if they so desired.
Subsequently, the parties reached settlement agreements. On August 23, 2004, Judge Thompson approved the two four-year settlement agreements proposed by the parties: a conditions settlement agreement and a medical settlement agreement. Laube v. Campbell, 333 F.Supp.2d 1234 (M.D.Ala. 2004). The conditions settlement agreement covered population flow, heat, ventilation, exercise, recreation, safety and security staffing, segregation cells, and classification. The medical settlement agreement covered access to care, intake medical screening, available medical services, medical staffing, pharmaceuticals, records and reporting.
Litigation continued over attorney's fees and modifications to the settlement agreements. On August 31, 2007, Judge Thompson issued a 107 page Opinion and Order, ruling on the prisoners' application for attorneys' fees and awarding plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and expenses totaling $538,178.14. The Court noted that if additional enforcement fees were incurred, the prisoners could make further application for payment of those fees.
On December 17, 2009, the Court held a status conference during which the parties notified the court of the defendant has satisfied all of the terms of the settlement agreements. In light of this conference, on January 25, 2010, the court issued an order of final judgment closing the case.
However, on May 12, 2010, another prisoner filed a motion for reconsideration. On May 14, 2010, the court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) denied the motion for reconsideration. The prisoner appealed this denial to the Eleventh Circuit. On November 10, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit found that the appeal was frivolous and dismissed the appeal.Tom Madison - 11/10/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 03/18/2016