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Case Name Cody v. Hillard PC-SD-0001
Docket / Court 80-4039 ( D.S.D. )
State/Territory South Dakota
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On March 7, 1980, inmates of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota filed a class action 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 ... read more >
On March 7, 1980, inmates of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota filed a class action 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 class certification and 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 district court (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 private settlement agreement between the parties and dismissed the case without prejudice. Cody v. Hilliard, 88 F.Supp.2d 1049 (D.S.D. 2000). According to Jude Piersol’s opinion, the settlement agreement contained more specific language and guidelines than the 1985 consent decree and established procedures for continued monitoring of prison conditions. The defendants agreed to monthly self-inspections for fire safety and yearly OSHA-type inspections of all shop areas. The settlement agreement provided more relief with regards to the tuberculosis isolation provision, quality control provision, and specific shop provisions.

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). The case is now closed.

Kristen Sagar - 07/12/2006
Maurice Youkanna - 07/20/2014
Emily Kempa - 03/21/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Sex discrimination
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Grievance Procedures
Law library access
Protective custody
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) State of South Dakota
Plaintiff Description Prisoners housed within the general population of the South Dakota State Penitentiary at Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 1985 - 2002
Filed 03/07/1980
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
80-4039 (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint
PC-SD-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/1982
Memorandum Opinion (599 F.Supp. 1025) (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/31/1984
Source: Google Scholar
USCA Opinion (1984 U.S.App.LEXIS 20148)
PC-SD-0001-0028.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/26/1984
Source: LexisNexis
Plaintiffs' Proposed Remedial Order
PC-SD-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/1985
Plaintiffs response to Defendants' Proposed Plan for Compliance
PC-SD-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/1985
Proposed Final Order (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/1985
Final Order (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/1985
Reported Opinion (799 F.2d 447)
PC-SD-0001-0021.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/02/1986
Source: Google Scholar
Order (804 F.2d 440)
PC-SD-0001-0026.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/28/1986
Source: Westlaw
Reported Opinion (830 F.2d 912)
PC-SD-0001-0022.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/06/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Order (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/1987
Order (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/04/1987
Defendants' Report on Legal Access
PC-SD-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/06/1988
Report of the Expert Panel regarding physical plant
PC-SD-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/1988
Reported Opinion (485 U.S. 906)
PC-SD-0001-0027.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/29/1988
Source: Westlaw
Medical Panel Report
PC-SD-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/1988
Order to Dissolve Consent Decree (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/1997
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota
PC-SD-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/27/1998
Opinion (139 F.3d 1197)
PC-SD-0001-0023.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/27/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion and Order (88 F.Supp.2d 1049) (D.S.D.)
PC-SD-0001-0024.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/17/2000
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (304 F.3d 767)
PC-SD-0001-0025.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/11/2002
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Battey, Richard Howard (D.S.D.) show/hide docs
Bowman, Pasco Middleton II (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Gibson, John R. (W.D. Mo., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0017 | PC-SD-0001-0023 | PC-SD-0001-0025
Heaney, Gerald William (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Piersol, Lawrence L. (D.S.D.) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Porter, Donald James (D.S.D.) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0006 | PC-SD-0001-0010 | PC-SD-0001-0011 | PC-SD-0001-0013 | PC-SD-0001-0015 | PC-SD-0001-0020
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0001 | PC-SD-0001-0002 | PC-SD-0001-0004 | PC-SD-0001-0010 | PC-SD-0001-0013 | PC-SD-0001-0020 | PC-SD-0001-0021 | PC-SD-0001-0022 | PC-SD-0001-0023 | PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-0025 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Clayton, Thomas W. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-0025 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Cummings, Douglas P. Jr. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0001 | PC-SD-0001-0002 | PC-SD-0001-0004 | PC-SD-0001-0020 | PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Froke, Bill (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0001 | PC-SD-0001-0002 | PC-SD-0001-0004 | PC-SD-0001-0020
Lee, Donna Hae Kyun (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0023 | PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barnett, Mark W. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0020 | PC-SD-0001-0023
Dale, Richard (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0020 | PC-SD-0001-0021 | PC-SD-0001-0022
Geaghan, Frank (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0023 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Love, Todd Alan (South Dakota) show/hide docs
Mayer, Robert E. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
Meierhenry, Mark V. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
Moore, James Ellis (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0024 | PC-SD-0001-0025 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Smith, Mark (South Dakota) show/hide docs
PC-SD-0001-0012 | PC-SD-0001-0015 | PC-SD-0001-9000
Tellinghuisen, Roger A (South Dakota) show/hide docs

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