University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Anderson v. Williams JC-DC-0008
Docket / Court 2005 CA 005030 B ( State Court )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On June 29, 2005, seven D.C. Jail inmates, represented by the D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project and the private law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court to challenge severe overcrowding at the Jail and to force compliance with the D.C. Jail ... read more >
On June 29, 2005, seven D.C. Jail inmates, represented by the D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project and the private law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court to challenge severe overcrowding at the Jail and to force compliance with the D.C. Jail Improvement Act of 2003. Plaintiffs alleged that the Act, which was passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in July 2003, required the Mayor to establish a population cap at the Jail following a study completed by the consulting firm of Pulitzer/Bogard Associates which recommended a cap of between 1,958 and 2,164 inmates. Plaintiffs alleged that the Mayor refused to comply with the Act, resulting in dangerous conditions at the Jail because of the continued overcrowding. At the time suit was filed, the average daily Jail population was alleged to have risen as high as 2,400 inmates.

The defendants moved to dismiss the case, which the court (Judge Melvin R. Wright) denied on October 13, 2005. According to the docket, the case was set for mediation on several occasions, but the mediation was either cancelled or continued. The court set a briefing schedule, and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

On August 24, 2007, Judge Wright granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. While the Clearinghouse does not have a copy of the order, the docket reveals that Judge Wright ordered the District of Columbia to establish a jail capacity cap in writing and to provide a copy of the document on or before an October 5, 2007 status hearing. The defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment was denied. The defendants moved to amend the court's judgment, which was subsequently denied by the court at the October 5, 2007 status hearing. On October 14, 2007, the court, acting on its own initiative, ordered the defendants to submit, within 30 days, a notice of proposed rulemaking establishing a jail capacity cap of 2,164.

The case was set for another status conference to be held on March 28, 2008. Although there is no information as to what happened during the conference, according to Prison Legal News, the city published the official order of a population cap for the D.C. Jail in the January 18, 2008, edition of the D.C. Register, 55 D.C. Reg. 492 (Jan. 18, 2008).

On October 28, 2008, the Judge dismissed the case without prejudice but also included a provision that the attorneys could file any objection of counsel before January 19, 2009. The average daily population at the Jail for September 2008 was 1,933. As of 2019, there has been no further activity on the docket.

Dan Dalton - 02/05/2008
Averyn Lee - 06/09/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Post-PLRA Population Cap
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) D.C. Department of Corrections
District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description Group of D.C. inmates currently being held in the D.C. Jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2008 - 2008
Filing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Officials Agree To Cap Population at D.C. Jail
https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/feb/15/officials-agree-to-cap-population-at-dc-jail/
Date: February 2009
By: Michael Rigby (Prison Legal News)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2005 CA 005030 B (State Trial Court)
JC-DC-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2008
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-DC-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2005
D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project Press Release: "D.C. Inmates File Lawsuit Over Mayor’s Refusal to Obey The Law"
JC-DC-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2005
show all people docs
Judges Wright, Melvin R Court not on record show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amatrudo, Vincent A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-0001
Fornaci, Phillip Jerome (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-0001 | JC-DC-0008-0002 | JC-DC-0008-9000
Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-0001 | JC-DC-0008-9000
Howard, Theodore Augustus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-0001 | JC-DC-0008-9000
Whitaker, Joshua G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-0001 | JC-DC-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Adams, Eugene A. III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000
Amato, Maria-Claudia T. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000
Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000
Saindon, Andrew J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000
Valentine, George C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-DC-0008-9000

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