On March 7, 1980, inmates of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the South Dakota Department of Corrections. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and by East River Legal Services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the conditions of their confinement. Specifically, they complained of fire hazards, unsanitary food, work safety hazards, poor ventilation, inadequate plumbing, inadequate medical care, inadequate dental care, inadequate psychological care, overcrowding, lack of hot water, lack of heat in winter, inadequate law library, lack of recreation and exercise, and inadequate grievance procedures.
On May 31, 1984, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota (Judge Donald J. Porter) granted declaratory and injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, ordering the defendants stop double-celling inmates and to file a plan to fix the other problems within 120 days. Cody v. Hilliard, 599 F.Supp. 1025 (D.S.D. 1984). The defendants appealed. On October 28, 1986, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge Gerald W. Heaney) affirmed the district court's decision. Cody v. Hilliard, 799 F.2d 447 (8th Cir. 1986).
The defendants asked the Eighth Circuit for a rehearing en banc, and on October 28, 1986, the Eighth Circuit agreed to rehear the case. Cody v. Hilliard, 804 F.2d 440 (8th Cir. 1986). On October 6, 1987, the en banc Eighth Circuit (Judge Pasco Middleton Bowman II) reversed the district court's order forbidding double-celling, declaring that the practice was not unconstitutional, but affirmed all other orders of the district court. Cody v. Hilliard, 830 F.2d 912 (8th Cir. 1987). The plaintiffs appealed. On February 29, 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. Cody v. Hilliard, 485 U.S. 906 (1988).
On July 8, 1985, the district court (Judge Porter) issued a consent decree in the case, addressing issues such as prison environmental concerns, fire safety, medical care, psychological care, prisoners' access to courts, and food preparation and sanitation. In the years that followed, the defendants paid attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs on multiple occasions, never disputing the plaintiffs' entitlement to fees.
On April 16, 1996, the defendants asked the district court to terminate the consent decree, arguing that they were in substantial compliance. On March 13, 1997, the district court (Judge Richard H. Battey) dissolved the consent decree and vacated all supplemental orders. The plaintiffs appealed. On March 27, 1998, the Eighth Circuit (Judge John R. Gibson) reversed the decision to dissolve the decree and remanded the case back to the district court, holding that the dissolution of the decree was not supported by sufficient findings or an articulation of basis for the decision. Cody v. Hilliard, 139 F.3d 1197 (8th Cir. 1998).
On February 17, 2000, the district court (Judge Lawrence L. Piersol) approved a settlement agreement between the parties and dismissed the case without prejudice. Cody v. Hilliard, 88 F.Supp.2d 1049 (D.S.D. 2000). We have no information on the terms of this settlement agreement.
The plaintiffs asked the district court to award them attorneys' fees. On November 15, 2000, the district court (Judge Piersol) awarded $106,877.74 in attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs. The defendants appealed. On September 11, 2002, the Eighth Circuit (Judge Gibson) affirmed the fee award. Cody v. Hilliard, 304 F.3d 767 (8th Cir. 2002).Kristen Sagar - 07/12/2006
Maurice Youkanna - 07/20/2014