On December 30, 1983, African American inmates in the Tennessee prison system filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging racial discrimination on cell and work assignments. In May of 1986, the two sides in that suit reached a ...
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On December 30, 1983, African American inmates in the Tennessee prison system filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging racial discrimination on cell and work assignments. In May of 1986, the two sides in that suit reached a draft settlement agreement. The case was consolidated with another action filed by African-American inmates in July 1985 seeking injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief, alleging that after being fired from their prison jobs following a riot, discriminatory hiring practices kept them from getting their jobs back. This litigation is Tuggle.
On June 6, 1986, the defendants in the Tuggle case submitted a motion to consolidate it with still more, individual cases. Three of the plaintiffs from these individual cases filed an objection to the consolidation in the district court, but on May 6, 1987, the district court approved the consolidation and the settlement agreement from the first case which certified a mandatory class of all African American inmates in the Tennessee prison system. In the settlement agreement, the prison system agreed to reform cell and job assignment procedures by not considering race in making these assignments. The parties also agreed to refer some additional claims concerning injunctive relief to the special master in Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F.Supp. 1052 (M.D. Tenn. 1982), PC-TN-007. The settlement did not award class members any money.
Five inmates from the involuntarily consolidated cases appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, alleging that the district court erred by consolidating the cases, and by foreclosing their claims for monetary and other relief. On January 3, 1989, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (Judge Ralph B. Guy), in an unpublished opinion, affirmed the district court's holdings, and denied the plaintiffs appeals. Mitchell v. Dutton, 865 F.2d 1268 (6th Cir. 1989)(table op). The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. Mitchell v. Dutton, 490 U.S. 1048 (1989).
In August, 1992, the court noted the "conclusion of all action under the implementation plan," ordered the prior order itself in full force and effect, and closed the file. Subsequent activity was by single claim members, and went nowhere. We have no further information on the case.Ben Kelly - 03/26/2006