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Case Name Calvin and Capers v. Abate PC-NY-0042
Docket / Court 91-44831 ( State Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Jail Conditions
Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1991, this class action lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York on behalf of newly-sentenced state prisoners against the New York City Department of Correction, the New York State Department of Correctional Services, and the New York State ... read more >
In 1991, this class action lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York on behalf of newly-sentenced state prisoners against the New York City Department of Correction, the New York State Department of Correctional Services, and the New York State Division of Parole. The plaintiffs brought their suit pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, seeking injunctive relief to enjoin the swift transfer of newly-sentenced inmates to State custody. At some point, claims against the County Clerks for New York, Queens, Kings, Bronx, and Richmond Counties were severed from this lawsuit by stipulation.

On July 29, 1992, the parties proposed a settlement, under which newly-sentenced prisoners would be transferred from City correctional facilities to State facilities within five days of sentencing. The City agreed to notify the sentencing court any time the transfer deadline was not met and to report transfer readiness, rates, and speed to the plaintiffs' counsel every month. The State agreed to be prepared to receive transferring inmates within five days of sentencing and to notify the City of planned placement to facilitate transfer. The Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York (Judge Joan B. Lobis) heard class members' concerns about the settlement before approving the agreement on September 21, 1992.

On November 4, 1992, the plaintiffs moved to hold the State in civil contempt for failing to accept the transfer of prisoners within ten business days, as stipulated by the agreement. The court held a hearing on November 13, during which the State admitted it was in violation of the settlement agreement and that it could accept all the prisoners by December 14. Six days after the hearing, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion, holding the State in contempt and ordering the defendants to accept the prisoners by December 14. In addition, the State was to provide weekly updates for monitoring purposes. On December 14, 1992, the court purged the State of contempt after the prisoners had been transferred.

Roughly four months later, on April 27, 1993, the plaintiffs again moved to hold the State in contempt for not accepting prisoners ready to be transferred. On May 17, 1993, the court granted the motion, holding the State in contempt and ordering it to accept the prisoners by May 28, 1993.

Nearly a year later, on April 6, 1994, the plaintiffs once again moved to hold the defendants in contempt. The court granted the motion on July 25, 1994. In addition to holding the defendants in contempt, the court imposed fines in an effort to compel the State's future compliance with accepting prisoners. The State had to pay $35 to each of the 570 prisoners who had been delayed in transfer during this period of contempt.

No further information is known about the enforcement of the settlement agreement.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/22/2006
Megan Richardson - 07/18/2014
Lauren Yu - 08/19/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Classification / placement
Language access/needs
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) New York City Department of Corrections
New York State Department of Correctional Services
Plaintiff Description newly-sentenced inmates in New York State custody
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1992 - n/a
Filed 1991
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
State Trial Court
07/29/1992
Proposed Settlement Agreement
PC-NY-0042-0001.pdf | Detail
State Trial Court
09/21/1992
Order
PC-NY-0042-0002.pdf | Detail
State Trial Court
11/19/1992
Order Adjuding Respondent/Defendant Coughlin in Contempt and Granting Interim Relief
PC-NY-0042-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
State Trial Court
05/17/1993
Order Adjudging Respondent/Defendant Coughlin in Contempt
PC-NY-0042-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
State Trial Court
07/25/1994
Order Adjudging Respondent/Defendant Coughlin in Contempt and Imposing Fines
PC-NY-0042-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
show all people docs
Judges Lobis, Joan B. (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001 | PC-NY-0042-0002 | PC-NY-0042-0003 | PC-NY-0042-0004 | PC-NY-0042-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baum, Robert M. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Hendricks, Susan L. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Turpen, Michael C. (Oklahoma) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Abrams, Robert W. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Herman, Louise (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Northey, Rebecca (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Sherwood, O. Peter (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001
Winston, Susan A. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0042-0001

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