University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Sheppard v. Phoenix PC-NY-0001
Docket / Court 1:91-cv-04148-RPP-MHD ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On June 18, 1991, an inmate at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility (RICF) in New York filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Warden of RICF in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff, who was later represented by the Legal Aid Society ... read more >
On June 18, 1991, an inmate at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility (RICF) in New York filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Warden of RICF in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff, who was later represented by the Legal Aid Society Prisoners' Rights Project of New York, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated when correctional officers beat him unconscious while he was in the facility's Central Punitive Segregation Unit (CPSU).

On February 18, 1993, the plaintiff's complaint was amended, naming additional corrections officers as defendants and additional inmates as plaintiffs. A plaintiff class was then certified in the case, and the class alleged a pattern of brutality and the use of gratuitous and excessive physical violence by corrections officers and supervisory personnel. The class was certified in May 1993.

In March 1996, the City of New York moved the CPSU to a newer facility, called the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, where they installed video cameras and made other renovations. The City also declined to represent or indemnify many of the named individual correction officers and supervisory personnel that were defendants in the lawsuit. In April 1996, the City of New York and each of the named plaintiffs agreed to monetary amounts in full settlement of all claims for damages, and plaintiffs' counsel waived any claims for attorneys fees and costs. There then followed factual discovery relating to the nature of injunctive relief to be sought from the Court on behalf of members of the class.

On May 26, 1998, the parties entered into a 48-page Stipulation of Settlement (the "Stipulation") and on June 9, 1998, this Court ordered that the notice to the class of the proposed settlement be provided in English and Spanish to the plaintiff class. The Court approved the settlement on July 10, 1998. Two groups of correctional officers sought to intervene, to object to the settlement, but the Court rejected that effort on July 16, 1998. 1998 WL 397846.

The agreement dealt with use of force, staff training procedures, mental health services, inmate management, creation of an operating manual for the CPSU, use of chemical agents, staff placement, record keeping, investigation procedures, disciplinary procedures, and video coverage of inmate areas.

The parties continued to file status reports with the court until July 2002, when the parties stipulated to the court that all issues had been resolved. On July 18, 2002, the district court (Judge Patterson) thanked all parties for their cooperation and issued a final dismissal of the case. 210 F.Supp.2d 450

Kristen Sagar - 10/31/2006

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary segregation
Personal injury
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of New York
Plaintiff Description inmates at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1998 - 2002
Filing Year 1991
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

1:91-cv-04148-RPP-MHD (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/03/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Stipulation of Settlement (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/1998
PC-NY-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/1998
Order Approving Stipulation of Settlement and Entry as Judgment (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/1998
Opinion and Order (1998 WL 397846 / 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10576) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/16/1998
Opinion and Order (210 F.Supp.2d 450) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/16/2002
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Patterson, Robert Porter Jr. (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0003 | PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-0005 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chasan, Jonathan S. (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0002 | PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-0005 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Greenberg, Daniel L. (New York)
Kerr, Sarah (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0005
Weinstein, Philip L. (New York)
Wilker, Dale A. (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-0005 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Calhoun, Martha Anne (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-0005 | PC-NY-0001-9000
DOrazio, Vincent (New York)
Goldsmith, Bonnie (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Hess, Michael D. (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0005
Persky, Eileen Helen (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Pines, Jonathan (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0001 | PC-NY-0001-0005
Schwager, Pamela H. (New York)
PC-NY-0001-0004 | PC-NY-0001-9000
Sherwood, O. Peter (New York)
Other Lawyers Garber, Mitchell S. (New York)

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -