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4th Circuit Reverses District Court’s Denial of North Carolina Prisoners' Suit against DOC

On April 26, 1978, the 4th Circuit filed a decision to reverse and remand a district court ruling dismissing a complaint brought by 29 North Carolina prisoners against that state's governor and various DOC officials. The district court ruled that the prisoners failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The 4th Circuit, however, disagreed with that determination.

Plaintiffs’ attorney, Allen H. Wellons, filed the complaint accusing DOC officials of 6th, 8th and 14th Amendment violations in regard to overcrowding, interference with prisoner's mail, unwarranted isolation of prisoners, and denial of due process at a number of DOC facilities across the state. Upon examination of each cause of action, the Circuit determined all but one of the allegations made by prisoners were "sufficiently factual to state a cognizable claim." The exception involved the denial of procedural due process in administrative hearings, which the court deemed "so general and so broad that they state conclusions of law as opposed to a factual statement showing entitlement to relief. It was further judged, however, that this was not sufficient cause to justify dismissing the entire complaint, but instead, Plaintiffs should have been granted leave to amend. Therefore, the case was remanded for further proceedings.

See: Bolding, et al. v. Holshouser, et al., 4th Circuit., Case No. 76-2151, 575 F. 2d 461; 1978 U.S. App. LEXIS 11480.

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Related legal case

Bolding, et al. v. Holshouser