56 F.3d 849 (8th Cir. 1995), 94-2449, A.J. by L.B. v. Kierst

Docket Nº:94-2449, 94-3586.
Citation:56 F.3d 849
Party Name:A.J., by his mother and next friend, L.B., on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Appellant, v. David KIERST, Jr., in his official capacity as Juvenile Officer; Jim Morrison, in his official capacity as Director of Residential Services; Sherman Williams, in his official capacity as Director of Detention; Judge Edith L. Messina, in
Case Date:June 01, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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56 F.3d 849 (8th Cir. 1995)

A.J., by his mother and next friend, L.B., on behalf of

himself and all others similarly situated, Appellant,

v.

David KIERST, Jr., in his official capacity as Juvenile

Officer; Jim Morrison, in his official capacity as Director

of Residential Services; Sherman Williams, in his official

capacity as Director of Detention; Judge Edith L. Messina,

in her official capacity as chief administrative officer of

juvenile detention and as Judge of the Juvenile Division of

the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri,

Appellees. (Two Cases)

Nos. 94-2449, 94-3586.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 1, 1995

Submitted Feb. 13, 1995.

Rehearing Denied July 7, 1995.

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Arthur A. Benson, Kansas City, MO, argued (Veronica Johnson, Kansas City, MO, and David Lambert, San Francisco, CA, on the brief), for appellant.

William H. Sanders, Kansas City, MO, argued (Peter B. Sloan on the brief), for appellee, Edith Messina.

J. Earlene Farr, Kansas City, MO, argued, for appelles, Sherwin Williams, Jim Morrison and David Kierst.

Before McMILLIAN, Circuit Judge; HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge; and MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge.

Pursuant to 42 U.C.S. Secs. 1983 and 1988, A.J., a 16-year-old minor, filed this class action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri on behalf of himself and others similarly situated (collectively "plaintiffs"; separately "A.J." and "the class") to challenge the constitutionality of certain policies, practices, and conditions at the Jackson County Juvenile Justice Center

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("JCJJC"). 1 The district court ultimately certified a class to consist of all persons who had been detained at the JCJJC since November 15, 1989. A.J. and the class sought injunctive relief, and A.J. individually claimed monetary damages for injuries he incurred as a result of the center's allegedly unconstitutional practices. The court granted summary judgment to defendants 2 on overcrowding and the use of floor mattresses, 3 two of a number of issues alleged by plaintiffs to be unconstitutional, and held in favor of defendants on all remaining issues after a court trial. The court granted summary judgment to defendants on A.J.'s claim that he received improper medical care and denied summary judgment on A.J.'s claim that he was unlawfully placed in isolation. A.J.'s isolation claim was ultimately tried to a jury, which awarded $42 in damages. The court awarded attorney's fees in the sum of $24,428 to one of plaintiffs' counsel on A.J.'s jury claim after declining to award fees to plaintiffs' other counsel.

On appeal plaintiffs argue that the district court (1) erred as a matter of law in granting summary judgment against plaintiffs on the issues of overcrowding and the use of floor mattresses; (2) abused its discretion in conditioning communications between plaintiffs' counsel and class members on the requirements that plaintiffs exhaust alternative resources and demonstrate a compelling need; and (3) erred in its rulings on various issues at trial which, combined, denied plaintiffs their right to a fair trial. In addition, plaintiffs argue the court erred in limiting attorneys' fees to one attorney and in holding that plaintiffs did not "prevail" under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988 on their claims for injunctive relief.

We affirm the district court's order granting summary judgment in defendants' favor. We agree with plaintiffs that the district court erred in conditioning communications between plaintiffs' counsel and class members on the requirements that plaintiffs exhaust other resources and demonstrate a compelling need, but hold that the court's order restricting access resulted in no prejudice to plaintiffs on the two issues appealed by them: overcrowding and the use of floor mattresses. We further find that the court's rulings at trial did not, either individually or collectively, deprive plaintiffs of their right to a fair trial. Finally, we find that the district court erred in limiting attorneys' fees to only one attorney for A.J.'s successful jury claim, but that the court did not err in denying fees for plaintiffs' injunctive claims.

I.

A. Summary Judgment Claim

We first address plaintiffs' argument that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to defendants on the issues of overcrowding and the use of floor mattresses.

We review a district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, United States ex rel. Glass v. Medtronic, Inc., 957 F.2d 605, 607 (8th Cir.1992), applying the same standards used by the district court. Kuhnert v. John Morrell & Co. Meat Packing, Inc., 5 F.3d 303, 304 (8th Cir.1993). The question before us is whether the record, when viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct.

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2548, 2552-53, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510-11, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Our court construes civil rights pleadings liberally. Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 153 (8th Cir.1993). Such pleadings, however, must not be conclusory and must set forth facts that state a claim as a matter of law. Nickens v. White, 536 F.2d 802, 803 (8th Cir.1976).

In memoranda of law filed with the district court the parties agreed that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and not the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment, is the appropriate measuring stick for evaluating conditions in a juvenile facility. The due process standard was applied by the district court, which, quoting with approval Judge Ferguson's concurring opinion in Gary H. v. Hegstrom, 831 F.2d 1430, 1437 n. 3 (9th Cir.1987), noted that " '[t]he "evolving standards of decency" against which courts evaluate the constitutionality of ... conditions certainly provide greater protection for juveniles than for adults.' " See Jt.App. at 194. We note, as did the district court, that the Supreme Court has not yet articulated the appropriate federal standard by which to judge conditions in state juvenile facilities. See Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 669 n. 37, 97 S.Ct. 1401, 1411 n. 37, 51 L.Ed.2d 711 (1977) (expressly reserving the question whether the Eighth Amendment applies to juvenile institutions). We agree with the court that, by virtue of plaintiffs' status as pretrial detainees, the more protective Fourteenth Amendment, and not the Eighth Amendment, applies. See Boswell v. Sherburne County, 849 F.2d 1117, 1120-21 (8th Cir.1988) (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 523, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1865-66, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979)); see also Hegstrom, 831 F.2d at 1437 (Ferguson, J., concurring) ("Where ... an institution is noncriminal and nonpenal, allegations of unconstitutional conditions of confinement are governed by the more protective standard of the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Eighth Amendment."); Santana v. Collazo, 714 F.2d 1172, 1179 (1st Cir.1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 974, 104 S.Ct. 2352, 80 L.Ed.2d 825 (1984) ("[J]uveniles ... who have not been convicted of crimes, have a due process interest in freedom from unnecessary bodily restraint which entitles them to closer scrutiny of their conditions of confinement than that accorded convicted criminals.").

In applying the due process standard to juveniles, we cannot ignore the reality that assessments of juvenile conditions of confinement are necessarily different from those relevant to assessments of adult conditions of confinement. See Santana, 714 F.2d at 1179. Juveniles subject to pretrial detention have "not as yet had a 'judicial determination of probable cause which the Fourth Amendment requires as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following arrest[,]' " United States ex rel. Martin v. Strasburg, 513 F.Supp. 691, 714 (S.D.N.Y.1981) (quoting Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 114, 95 S.Ct. 854, 863, 43 L.Ed.2d 54 (1975)), aff'd, 689 F.2d 365 (2d Cir.1982), rev'd sub nom. Schall v. Martin, 467 U.S. 253, 104 S.Ct. 2403, 81 L.Ed.2d 207 (1984); are, in some instances, before the court on charges in unverified petitions, e.g., delinquency petitions filed on information and belief, id.; and are in a system whose purpose is rehabilitative, not penal, in nature. See Santana, 714 F.2d at 1178 (citing, among other cases, Pena v. New York State Div. For Youth, 419 F.Supp. 203, 206 (S.D.N.Y.1976) (objectives of juvenile justice system are to provide measures of guidance and rehabilitation)). In addition, juveniles are frequently detained for reasons entirely separate from those associated with adjudication of charges. Some are detained as a result of neglect or abusive home environments and are held in protective custody, e.g., are "status offenders"; some are runaways; some are simply undisciplined. For these reasons, we conclude that, as a general matter, the due process standard applied to juvenile pretrial detainees should be more liberally construed than that applied to adult detainees.

Plaintiffs do not dispute that overcrowding alone is insufficient to create a due process violation. See Vazquez v. Carver, 729 F.Supp. 1063, 1069 (E.D.Pa.1989). In evaluating overcrowded conditions courts have looked to a number of factors, including

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the size of detainees' living space, the length of time detainees spend in their cell each day, the length of time of their confinement, and their opportunity for exercise. See Campbell v....

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