Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Seventh Circuit Upholds CCA’s Victory in Indiana Jail Conditions Suit

On September 14, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s class certification and summary judgment orders in a jail conditions case involving the Marion County Correctional Center (MCCC) in Indianapolis, Indiana, also known as the Marion County Jail II, operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

In 2008, MCCC prisoners were subjected to overcrowded living conditions in which upwards of 150 prisoners were forced to share a single toilet and sink; deprived of food and water for extended periods of time; housed in trash, mold and insect-infested living conditions; and required to reveal confidential medical information in the presence of other prisoners.

MCCC prisoners Alan Kress and Randy Carr filed suit in April 2008 alleging inadequate medical care and inhumane living conditions. The federal district court granted their motion for class certification and named them as class representatives, but dismissed several claims that failed to satisfy class certification requirements. The court subsequently granted CCA’s motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims and dismissed the case in 2011. [See: PLN, May 2012, p.46].

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit first upheld the district court’s finding that the plaintiffs had failed to satisfy the class certification typicality requirement for claims challenging CCA’s reduction of medication calls from three to two times a day.

“Though some similarities may exist between the two cases,” the Court of Appeals found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in failing to follow the class certification decision in Smentek v. Sheriff of Cook County, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122145 (N.D. Ill. 2010), because “the district court’s decision in Smentek was based on fact-specific findings that differ from the instant case.”

The Seventh Circuit also affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to CCA, noting that CCA had “presented an affidavit from 2011 in which the jail warden testified that measures had been taken to remedy the ... problems in 2008 and 2009, after [plaintiffs] had left the jail.” The plaintiffs failed to offer any evidence that such remedial measures had not been taken and, therefore, failed to establish an ongoing constitutional violation warranting injunctive relief. See: Kress v. CCA, 694 F.3d 890 (7th Cir. 2012).

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Kress v. CCA