Dawson v. Kendrick, Civ. A. No. 78-1076.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtDavid W. Knight, Charles T. Cunningham, Princeton, W. Va., for defendants
Citation527 F. Supp. 1252
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 78-1076.
Decision Date10 August 1981
PartiesRonald DAWSON, Marlon Lee Hess, James L. Caldwell, William Burton, Garrett Norris, Charles Scott, Chris Dillard and James Martin, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Earl G. KENDRICK, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Mercer County, West Virginia; Luther H. Byrd, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Joe Coburn, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner and President of the Mercer County Commission, and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Clarence H. Six, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner, and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Mercer County Commission; Ricky Lee Lambert, individually and in his official capacity as jailer; and Harvey D. Wilson, individually and in his official capacity as Clerk of the Mercer County Commission, Defendants.

527 F. Supp. 1252

Ronald DAWSON, Marlon Lee Hess, James L. Caldwell, William Burton, Garrett Norris, Charles Scott, Chris Dillard and James Martin, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Earl G. KENDRICK, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Mercer County, West Virginia; Luther H. Byrd, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Joe Coburn, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner and President of the Mercer County Commission, and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Clarence H. Six, individually and in his official capacity as Mercer County Commissioner, and as representative of all other members of the Commission; Mercer County Commission; Ricky Lee Lambert, individually and in his official capacity as jailer; and Harvey D. Wilson, individually and in his official capacity as Clerk of the Mercer County Commission, Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 78-1076.

United States District Court, S. D. West Virginia, Bluefield Division.

August 10, 1981.


527 F. Supp. 1253
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Tobias J. Hirshman, Charleston, W. Va., for plaintiffs

David W. Knight, Charles T. Cunningham, Princeton, W. Va., for defendants.

FINDINGS OF FACT

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

OPINION AND ORDER

COPENHAVER, District Judge.

527 F. Supp. 1258
CONTENTS Introduction 1257 I. Findings of Fact Generally 1259 Population and Operational Costs 1261 Plumbing 1262 Lighting 1263 General Sanitary & Health Conditions 1263 Deputy Sheriffs 1265 Fire Detection 1266 Sufficiency of Housing & Supervision 1268 Classification 1270 Rules and Regulations 1271 Imposition of Punishment 1271 Administrative Segregation 1271 Clothing 1272 Toilet Articles 1272 Exercise 1272 Medical & Dental 1272 Nutrition 1273 Mail 1275 Telephones 1276 Visitation 1276 Reading Materials 1277 Rehab Programs 1277 Access to the Courts 1279 Attorney/Client Interview Facilities 1279 Possible Discrimination 1279 Other Conditions 1280 Conclusions 1280 II. Conclusions of Law ÔÇö Generally The Function of Constitutional Review 1280 Eight Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment 1282 State Statutory Standards 1284 Totality of Conditions & Discrete Adjudication Analyses 1285 Equal Protection 1286 III. Conclusions of Law ÔÇö The Constitutionality of Conditions and Practices at the Mercer County Jail A. Plumbing 1287 B. Lighting 1288 C. Bedding, Clothing & Toilet Articles 1288 D. Housekeeping 1289 E. Prisoner Safety 1289 F. Overcrowding 1294 G. Nutrition 1297 H. Exercise 1298 I. Discipline 1301 J. Medical Care 1306 K. Visitation 1308 L. Mail 1309 M. Access to the Courts 1312 N. Segregated Confinement 1314 O. Rehab. & Reading Materials 1315 P. Voting 1316 Q. Female Prisoners 1316 IV. ORDER 1318

Introduction

The named plaintiffs in this civil action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ž 1983 are certain past and present inmates of the Mercer County Jail located in Princeton, West Virginia. Plaintiffs have asserted extensive denials of their various constitutional rights due to the conditions they allege exist at the jail. The complaint does not focus upon an isolated condition or even

527 F. Supp. 1259
group of conditions. Rather, plaintiffs have launched a comprehensive assault upon all of the physical aspects of the jail and virtually every procedure by which the jail is operated and maintained

The court has conditionally certified this case as a class action. The class is composed of all persons who have been, presently are, or shall in the future be confined in the jail, excluding those whose claims are barred by statutes of limitation or laches. The class is subdivided into two parts with one subclass being composed of all members of the class who are pre-trial detainees and the other being all members of the class who have been confined in the jail following trial or conviction for some crime.

The trial to the court of plaintiffs' requests for both a preliminary and a permanent injunction and for declaratory relief were consolidated for hearing. Trial of the damages issues has been postponed until adjudication of the requests for injunctive and declaratory relief.

The claims against the physical aspects of the jail allege inadequate plumbing and lighting; exposure to risk of injury or death by fire due to inadequate fire escape routes; the lack of adequate facilities and programs for indoor and outdoor exercise and recreation; the lack of light, toilet facilities, and showers in the solitary confinement cells; the lack of adequate facilities in which an inmate may consult with an attorney; and, the presence of unsanitary and unhealthful conditions in the jail in general such as filth and vermin. Plaintiffs complain as well of the manner in which the jail is operated and the lack of numerous necessary services, alleging: inadequate medical, dental and nursing care; nutritionally inadequate meals; the failure to provide clothing; the failure to furnish various toilet articles and grooming aids; insufficient numbers of guards and deputy sheriffs stationed in the jail so as to endanger the health and safety of the inmates; the lack of written rules to inform the inmates of their rights and responsibilities; the failure to provide vocational, educational, or other rehabilitative programs; the lack of an adequate classification system of the inmates, leading in turn to insufficient supervision and indiscriminate housing of the inmates; inadequate handling of inmate mail and access to telephones; the failure to provide sufficient reading materials; inadequate visitation schedules and poor facilities in which the inmates may meet with their visitors; the arbitrary imposition of punishment upon inmates who are alleged to have broken the unwritten jail rules without a hearing or other protection; and the general imposition of discriminatory treatment upon the inmates by the jailkeepers. Plaintiffs also assert that their access to the courts is being impinged upon because they are denied access to their attorneys and to various legal materials, including a law library. A separate claim of some of the inmates alleges the failure of the jailkeepers to adequately provide the lesser degree of incarceration to which pre-trial detainees are said to be entitled. The issues presented conclude with additional claims premised upon the alleged failure of the jailkeepers to comply with various statutory duties which repeat the items set forth above.1

I. Findings of Fact

Generally

In addition to the oral testimony and exhibits received during the trial and the view of the jail by the court during the course of the trial, the parties have entered

527 F. Supp. 1260
into several stipulations of fact.2 The court adopts all of the stipulations of fact as its own and incorporates them in these findings by reference. The court's findings of fact, in addition to the stipulations, are set forth in the following discussion

The Mercer County Jail is operated by the Mercer County Sheriff's Department and is financed by the Mercer County Commission. The jail, which is the only primarily adult detention center operated by the county, is located within the Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton, West Virginia. The courthouse is a three-story building plus a basement. The entrance to the jail is located at the basement level. The basement houses the jail control room, the kitchen facilities, the drunk tank, and the so-called juvenile area.3 The sheriff's office proper is located on the first floor of the courthouse. The main portion of the jail is located on the entire third floor of the building. Access to the jail facilities on the third floor is by three means: an elevator which rises from the basement to the third floor; a staircase rising from the basement to the third floor with an exit to the sheriff's office on the first floor and an exit into the prosecuting attorney's office; and a small elevator which stops at the third floor and at the second floor near the criminal courtroom on that floor. The small elevator does not continue downward past the second floor.

The entire courthouse was designed in 1929 and was built in 1930-31. General maintenance of the water, toilet, and lighting facilities has been undertaken from time to time in response to prisoner abuse and the aging of the building. Although routine maintenance checks are not made by a professional firm, the deputies report maintenance needs as they arise.

The one instance of major repair and maintenance work on the courthouse took place in 1977-78 under the direction of an architect, Alex Mahood, at a total cost for the jail areas of approximately $65,000.4 In the main, these repairs constituted maintenance rather than remodeling and, to a significant degree, benefitted the facilities on the second floor, particularly the criminal courtroom.

The third floor of the courthouse contains the bulk of the prisoners' cells. There are four basic cell areas ÔÇö federal side, county side, city side, and trusty side ÔÇö plus three other areas known as sweat cells, side cells or women's cells, and the dungeon.

The county side consists of a dayroom measuring 12 feet by 45 feet (540 square

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feet) and six cells measuring 8 feet by 12 feet (96 square feet). Each cell contains eight bunks. Of the 96 square feet in each cell, the bunks take up the majority of the floor space. The cells are all in one line and are located across from the dayroom. In between the cells and the dayroom is a guards' corridor. The dayroom's opposite side is separated from the exterior wall by another guards' corridor. Thus, the cells and dayroom are within...

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58 practice notes
  • Groseclose v. Dutton, No. 3-84-0579.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • May 24, 1985
    ...to the constitutionality of entire prison systems. See, e.g., Cody v. Hillard, 599 F.Supp. 1025 (D.S.D. 1984); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252 (S.D.W.Va.1981); Pugh v. Locke, 406 F.Supp. 318 (M.D.Ala.1976), aff'd sub nom. Newman v. Alabama, 559 F.2d 283 (5th Cir.1977), rev'd in part, 4......
  • Soto v. City of Sacramento, No. Civ. S-79-680 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 24, 1983
    ...651 F.2d 96, 567 F. Supp. 684 102-05 (2d Cir.1981); Campbell v. Cauthron, 623 F.2d 503, 507 (8th Cir.1980); and Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252, 1296-97 (D.C.W.Va.1981). Nonetheless, plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment on this issue. The statistics plaintiff presents concerni......
  • N.E.W. v. Kennard, No. 94-C-148 W.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 7, 1997
    ...or discriminatory Ford v. Beister, 657 F.Supp. 607 (D.M.D.Pa.1986) (visitation limitation on children under 18); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252 (D.S.D.W.Va. 1981) (children under 12); Navin v. Iowa Dept. of Corrections, 843 F.Supp. 500 (D.N.D.Iowa 1994) (children when accompanied by a......
  • Ruiz v. Estelle, Nos. 81-2224
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 23, 1982
    ...v. Henderson, 331 F.Supp. 1123, 1131 (E.D.La.1971)); Kirby v. Blackledge, 530 F.2d 583, 587 (4th Cir. 1976); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252, 1298 (S.D.W.Va.1981); Parnell v. Waldrep, 511 F.Supp. 764, 771 (W.D.N.C.1981); Feliciano v. Barcelo, 497 F.Supp. 14, 34 174 See Parnell v. Waldr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • Groseclose v. Dutton, No. 3-84-0579.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • May 24, 1985
    ...to the constitutionality of entire prison systems. See, e.g., Cody v. Hillard, 599 F.Supp. 1025 (D.S.D. 1984); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252 (S.D.W.Va.1981); Pugh v. Locke, 406 F.Supp. 318 (M.D.Ala.1976), aff'd sub nom. Newman v. Alabama, 559 F.2d 283 (5th Cir.1977), rev'd in part, 4......
  • Soto v. City of Sacramento, No. Civ. S-79-680 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 24, 1983
    ...651 F.2d 96, 567 F. Supp. 684 102-05 (2d Cir.1981); Campbell v. Cauthron, 623 F.2d 503, 507 (8th Cir.1980); and Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252, 1296-97 (D.C.W.Va.1981). Nonetheless, plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment on this issue. The statistics plaintiff presents concerni......
  • N.E.W. v. Kennard, No. 94-C-148 W.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 7, 1997
    ...or discriminatory Ford v. Beister, 657 F.Supp. 607 (D.M.D.Pa.1986) (visitation limitation on children under 18); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252 (D.S.D.W.Va. 1981) (children under 12); Navin v. Iowa Dept. of Corrections, 843 F.Supp. 500 (D.N.D.Iowa 1994) (children when accompanied by a......
  • Ruiz v. Estelle, Nos. 81-2224
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 23, 1982
    ...v. Henderson, 331 F.Supp. 1123, 1131 (E.D.La.1971)); Kirby v. Blackledge, 530 F.2d 583, 587 (4th Cir. 1976); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252, 1298 (S.D.W.Va.1981); Parnell v. Waldrep, 511 F.Supp. 764, 771 (W.D.N.C.1981); Feliciano v. Barcelo, 497 F.Supp. 14, 34 174 See Parnell v. Waldr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Free-World Law Behind Bars.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 5, March 2022
    • March 1, 2022
    ...v. Ambroyer, 568 F. Supp. 245, 251 (E.D. Mich. 1983); Capps v. Atiyeh, 559 F. Supp. 894, 913-14 (D. Or. 1982); Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F. Supp. 1252,1294-97 (S.D. W. Va. (35.) See Swain v. Junior, 961 F.3d 1276, 1287-89 (11th Cir. 2020); Mays v. Dart, 974 F.3d 810, 819-20 (7th Cir. 2020); s......
  • MENSTRUAL EQUITY, ORGANIZING AND THE STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN DIGNITY AND GENDER EQUALITY IN PRISON.
    • United States
    • Columbia Journal of Gender and Law Vol. 41 Nbr. 1, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ..."deliberate indifference" can be inferred by the very fact that the risk of harm is obvious. Id. at 842. (72) Dawson v. Kendrick, 527 F. Supp. 1252, 1288-89 (S.D.W. Va. (73) Semelbauer v. Muskegon Cnty., No. 1:14-CV-1245, 2015 WL 9906265, at *9-10 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 11, 2015). (74) Complaint......

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