Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, ...
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Three consolidated class action lawsuits were brought by inmates at the Maine State Prison (MSP) in Thomaston, Maine. Represented by the ACLU National Prison Project, inmates challenged conditions of restraint cells in administrative segregation units. Lovell v. Brennan, filed on March 23, 1979, was consolidated with two other cases, Maine State Prison et al v. Mental Health & Corr., No. 79-8, brought on behalf of all inmates in protective custody and Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, No. 78-90, PC-ME-004, brought on behalf of all MSP inmates who had been or might be confined in administrative segregation
On June 22, 1983, Judge Edward Gignoux issued an opinion and order in the three cases, finding the claims related to administrative segregation meritorious, but rejecting the other challenges. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp. 672 (D.Me. 1983), which was affirmed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Lovell v. Brennan, 728 F.2d 560 (1st Cir. 1984).
While finding that overall conditions of confinement did not violate inmates' rights, in his ruling, Judge Gignoux concluded that the procedures for assigning inmates to administrative segregation violated the terms of the 1973 consent decree and that the prison's use of restraint cells was ""so inhumane"" that it violated the 8th and 14th Amendments (the small, windowless cells had no internal lighting or heat and were completely barren, except for a hole in the floor which served as a toilet, which could not be flushed from inside the cell). The court issued an order barring further violations in those areas. The Court, dismissing the remaining claims, found that the other conditions of confinement the inmates complained of had improved substantially since the filing of the lawsuit and did not currently violate the constitution or the consent decree. Lovell v. Brennan, 566 F.Supp at 677. The court noted, however, that the prison conditions improved only because of the lawsuit and only to the minimum extent required by law. Subsequently, attorneys sought fees. Judge Gignoux concluded that because the plaintiffs had succeeded on the major claims of their case, that they were considered ""prevailing parties"" and should be awarded attorneys fees. Inmates of the Maine State Prison v. Zitnay, 590 F.Supp. 979 (D.Me. 1984).
The docket sheet indicates that a full docket and proceedings for the cases are not available on PACER.Denise Lieberman - 10/23/2005