University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Grubbs v. Bradley PC-TN-0007
Docket / Court 3:80-cv-03404 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On August 11, 1980, several inmates filed pro se lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Tennessee Attorney General. The cases were consolidated and attorneys were appointed to represent plaintiffs. Plaintiffs were ... read more >
On August 11, 1980, several inmates filed pro se lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Tennessee Attorney General. The cases were consolidated and attorneys were appointed to represent plaintiffs. Plaintiffs were represented by Legal Services of Middle Tennessee, Legal Services of South Central Tennessee, National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, Rural Legal Services of Tennessee, and Legal Aid in Nashville.

In August of 1982, the district court (Judge Leland Clure Morton) found that the conditions within Tennessee's adult penal institutions were unconstitutional and ordered the defendants to establish remedies and submit them to the court. Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F.Supp. 1052 (M.D.Tenn. 1982). The court also appointed a special master, Patrick D. McManus, to evaluate the defendants' plan. The constitutional violations occurred in the areas of overcrowding, living conditions, and health services. Other remedial orders were issued by the court in this case. In 1987, the court ordered the plans to be completed by 1992.

In a separate litigation concerning inmate populations at Tennessee penal institutions governed by the Grubbs population orders, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Merritt, Nelson, and Lievely), remanded the case to the judge presiding over the Grubbs decree to oversee proceedings in that case consistent with the Grubbs order. Roberts v. Tennessee Department of Correction, 887 F.2d 1281. The Sixth Circuit noted that the Grubbs' court should have jurisdiction of all matters pertaining to population limits and other matters of the Grubbs decree.

On May 14, 1993, the matter came before the court regarding terminating the class action. The court (Judge Thomas A. Higgins) determined that conditions within Tennessee prisons had improved sufficiently to warrant the almost complete termination of court supervision. Grubbs v. Bradley, 821 F.Supp. 496 (M.D.Tenn. 1993). The court retained jurisdiction in one area to ensure the defendants created a health care quality-assurance program. The PACER docket indicates that defendants complied with this order and the docket ends on October 13, 2000 after several years of compliance review.

Angela Heverling - 05/18/2006
Richard Jolly - 11/14/2014

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Tenn. Prison System
Tennessee Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All present and future adult inmates committed to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1982 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-TN-0004 : Tuggle v. Cook (M.D. Tenn.)
JC-TN-0005 : Carver v. Knox County (E.D. Tenn)
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 ]

80-3404 (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/13/2000
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (887 F.2d 1281)
PC-TN-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/05/1989
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum (552 F.Supp. 1052) (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/13/1992
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum (821 F.Supp. 496) (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/14/1993
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Higgins, Thomas Aquinas (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Lively, Pierce (Sixth Circuit)
Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
Morton, Leland Clure (M.D. Tenn.)
Nelson, David Aldrich (Sixth Circuit)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bonnyman, George G. Jr. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0001 | PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)
Calhoon, Kathryn F. (Tennessee)
Carter, O. Michael (Tennessee)
Charles, James Lawrence (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Correll, Frank C. (Tennessee)
Croce, Lenny L. (Tennessee)
Grimes, R. Dale (Tennessee)
Holliday, Drake (Tennessee)
Kennedy, John Lee (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Kipp, David C. Jr. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Knowles, E. Clifton (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0001 | PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Kozlowski, David Arthur (Tennessee)
Mahn, Michael J. (Tennessee)
Moore, Shawn F. (District of Columbia)
Overby, Russell J. (Tennessee)
Vanderbilt, Susan Kay (Tennessee)
Defendant's Lawyers Burson, Charles W. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-0003
Himmelreich, David M. (Tennessee)
Leech, William M. Jr. (Tennessee)
Littleton, Robert B. (Tennessee)
Pearingen, Michael D. (Tennessee)
Reevers, Stephanie (Tennessee)
Robinson, Charles E. (North Carolina)
PC-TN-0007-0002 | PC-TN-0007-9000
Small, Jennifer Helton (Tennessee)
Southworth, John F. Jr. (Tennessee)
Zimmerman, John C. (Tennessee)

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -