636 F.2d 1141 (7th Cir. 1980), 80-1168, Dreher v. Sielaff

Docket Nº80-1168.
Citation636 F.2d 1141
Party NameRobert H. DREHER, Director, Prison Legal Aid Project, Southern Illinois University, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Allyn R. SIELAFF, individually and in official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Case DateDecember 09, 1980
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 1141

636 F.2d 1141 (7th Cir. 1980)

Robert H. DREHER, Director, Prison Legal Aid Project,

Southern Illinois University, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,

v.

Allyn R. SIELAFF, individually and in official capacity as

Director of the Illinois Department of

Corrections, et al., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 80-1168.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 9, 1980

Argued Sept. 23, 1980.

As Amended Dec. 11, 1980.

Page 1142

David Cassorla, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellants.

Richard J. Habinger, Prison Legal Aid, Carbondale, Ill., for plaintiffs-appellees.

Before CUMMINGS and WOOD, Circuit Judges, and CAMPBELL, Senior District Judge. [**]

HARLINGTON WOOD, Jr., Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from the judgment of the district court granting plaintiffs-appellees' motion for summary judgment and denying defendants-appellants' cross motion for summary judgment in an attorney access case involving inmates in a state institution. The district court entered a permanent injunction governing attorney-inmate access.

The Prison Legal Aid Project (PLA) 1 filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and their clients, prisoners at Menard, alleging a denial of civil rights under color of state law in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by officials of the Illinois Department of Corrections at the Menard Correctional Center (Menard). The complaint alleged that officials at Menard, in their individual and official capacities, had denied meaningful access by PLA attorneys and staff to their clients: (1) by the imposition of a forty-eight hour notice requirement prior to visits; (2) by unduly delaying access once the attorneys had arrived at the prison; and (3) by failing to provide a sufficient number of private rooms where attorney-client interviews could be conducted. The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief requiring Menard to provide PLA with prompt access to its clients and to provide adequate interview facilities.

Attorneys and law students for PLA filed affidavits in support of their allegations. At no time since commencement of this suit, however, have appellants filed an answer. 2 On December 18, 1978, PLA filed a

Page 1143

motion for summary judgment, including a memorandum of law and supporting affidavits. PLA also filed a motion for class certification nunc pro tunc and a motion to strike several of appellants' exhibits. Menard filed a cross motion for summary judgment, including a memorandum of law and supporting affidavits, on April 30, 1979. 3 On January 9, 1980, the district court entered an order granting PLA's motion for summary judgment, motion for class certification nunc pro tunc, and motion to strike several of appellants' exhibits. The court also denied Menard's cross motion for summary judgment. Because the only issue before this court is the granting of PLA's motion for summary judgment, the disposition of the other matters by the trial court will not be examined.

The trial court, bearing in mind that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees meaningful access to courts, Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977), that the opportunity to communicate privately with an attorney is an important part of that meaningful access, Bach v. Illinois, 504 F.2d 1100, 1102 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 418 U.S. 910, 94 S.Ct. 3202, 41 L.Ed.2d 1156 (1974), and that the institutional security needs of defendants require consideration, Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), made certain findings. The court found that those defense attorneys not associated with PLA were not required to give the forty-eight hour notice demanded of PLA, and that the resulting disparate treatment placed unreasonable restrictions upon PLA. In support of PLA's allegation that Menard had engaged in a selective pattern of harassment by unduly delaying attorney meetings with prisoners, the court found that substantial delays and denials of access had occurred. The court also found that on occasion access to a private place to conduct interviews had been denied either by interference from guards or from the inadequacy of the rooms provided. Further, the court found that the facilities used during interviews were either under surveillance or otherwise not amenable to meaningful attorney-client communication. Based upon those findings the district court permanently enjoined Menard from denying the plaintiffs access when given twenty-four hour notice by PLA and also required that the defendants make appropriate exceptions for emergencies. The defendants were further enjoined to provide areas sufficiently private and appropriately equipped for meaningful client consultation.

Two issues are raised in this appeal. First, whether the district court acted properly in granting PLA's motion for summary judgment, and, second, whether the relief fashioned by the district court was proper under the circumstances. We conclude that those issues were not resolvable by summary judgment in the particular circumstances and reverse.

Considering the purpose and limitations of summary judgment and in particular that all doubts must be resolved against the movant, in this case the PLA, this court believes that there exists sufficient disputed issues of material fact making the grant of summary judgment inappropriate. 4

Page 1144

Therefore, we must remand this case for further proceedings.

In its complaint, PLA alleged a plan or scheme by officials at Menard to deny PLA access to its clients. PLA supported that allegation with affidavits attesting to various instances where appellees were delayed or denied access to their clients. While Menard's cross motion for summary judgment does not specifically deny the instances alleged in PLA's complaint, supporting affidavits do deny any concerted action to limit PLA access to its clients. It appears that some of the delays complained of were only about an hour long, which under some institutional circumstances may not always be unreasonable. The fault also appears not to be all one-sided. On occasion a number of PLA members all sought to meet their various inmate clients on the same date. That created a volume problem for the institution. At other times PLA sought to make subsequent short notice date changes and also changes in the list of inmates to be visited. Institutional delays resulting from these changes are not necessarily unreasonable. Whether those requested changes resulted from good cause or were merely to serve PLA convenience is not shown. Sometimes the inmates to be consulted were in the psychiatric unit. That no doubt raises other special problems. In any event the PLA has not always made things as easy for the institution as it might have. The institution is coping with an inmate population of about 2,600. PLA needs to be cognizant and considerate of the problems of Menard so long as no substantial detrimental effect on attorney-client access results. Some bit of cooperative understanding by all the parties is needed in these circumstances. Just what the underlying factual situation is appears in some doubt and cannot be resolved by summary judgment on...

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59 practice notes
  • 828 F.Supp. 894 (W.D.Okl. 1993), Civ-92-893, Mann v. Reynolds
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 10th Circuit Western District of Oklahoma
    • July 21, 1993
    ...is a particularly important constitutional right which the courts will not permit to be unnecessarily abridged." Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1146 (7th Cir. These principles do not require unfettered exercise of all retained constitutional rights. Indeed, " '[l]awful incarcer......
  • 888 F.2d 1189 (7th Cir. 1989), 88-1783, Taylor v. O'Grady
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • November 1, 1989
    ...court rather than invalidating the entire program. This Court has also remanded cases in such circumstances. See e.g., Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1145 (7th Cir.1980); Zbaraz v. Quern, 596 F.2d 196 (7th Cir.1979). While it is often appropriate to let the agency reformulate its plan, h......
  • 66 B.R. 189 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1986), 85-05972, Matter of Elsub Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • April 25, 1986
    ...in his or her favor as a matter of law. Hollinger v. Wagner Mining Equipment Company, 667 F.2d 402 (3rd Cir.1982); Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141 (7th Cir.1980); Jackson Tool & Die, Inc. v. Smith, 339 F.2d 88 (5th Cir.1964); Toebelman v. Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Co., 130 F.2d 1016 (3......
  • 611 F.Supp. 182 (E.D.Wis. 1985), 84-C-0259, Czerniak v. City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • June 13, 1985
    ...F.2d 573, 577 (7th Cir.1961). Moore v. The Marketplace Restaurant, Inc., 754 F.2d 1336, 1339 (7th Cir.1985) (citing Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1143 n. 4 (7th Cir.1980)); see also Brown University v. Kirsch, 757 F.2d 124, 129 (7th Cir.1985) (noting that "summary judgment is to be......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
59 cases
  • 828 F.Supp. 894 (W.D.Okl. 1993), Civ-92-893, Mann v. Reynolds
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 10th Circuit Western District of Oklahoma
    • July 21, 1993
    ...is a particularly important constitutional right which the courts will not permit to be unnecessarily abridged." Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1146 (7th Cir. These principles do not require unfettered exercise of all retained constitutional rights. Indeed, " '[l]awful incarcer......
  • 888 F.2d 1189 (7th Cir. 1989), 88-1783, Taylor v. O'Grady
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • November 1, 1989
    ...court rather than invalidating the entire program. This Court has also remanded cases in such circumstances. See e.g., Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1145 (7th Cir.1980); Zbaraz v. Quern, 596 F.2d 196 (7th Cir.1979). While it is often appropriate to let the agency reformulate its plan, h......
  • 66 B.R. 189 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1986), 85-05972, Matter of Elsub Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • April 25, 1986
    ...in his or her favor as a matter of law. Hollinger v. Wagner Mining Equipment Company, 667 F.2d 402 (3rd Cir.1982); Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141 (7th Cir.1980); Jackson Tool & Die, Inc. v. Smith, 339 F.2d 88 (5th Cir.1964); Toebelman v. Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Co., 130 F.2d 1016 (3......
  • 611 F.Supp. 182 (E.D.Wis. 1985), 84-C-0259, Czerniak v. City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • June 13, 1985
    ...F.2d 573, 577 (7th Cir.1961). Moore v. The Marketplace Restaurant, Inc., 754 F.2d 1336, 1339 (7th Cir.1985) (citing Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1143 n. 4 (7th Cir.1980)); see also Brown University v. Kirsch, 757 F.2d 124, 129 (7th Cir.1985) (noting that "summary judgment is to be......
  • Request a trial to view additional results