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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Ninth Circuit: Error to Instruct Jury to Defer to Medical Staff’s Asserted Security Justification for Terminating California Prisoner’s Morphine Prescription Without Tapering

by Matt Clarke

On September 15, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a federal district court in California erred when it instructed the jury in a prisoner’s civil rights trial to defer to prison medical staff’s “security justification” for stopping his morphine medication abruptly—without ...

Texas Rangers Often Lackadaisical in Prisoner Death Investigations

by Matt Clarke

“The Texas Rangers are investigating.”

The words bring all the swagger of the Lonestar State’s frontier-justice history to reports of crime, lending a wild-west ring to them even today, when the state has 29 million residents, 85% of whom live in urban areas. But just how serious ...

Massachusetts Appellate Court Reinstates Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Food Substitution

by Matt Clarke

On September 20, 2021, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a prisoner challenging frequent food substitutions at Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Norfolk, as well as the lack of a food substitution policy in the Massachusetts prison system. ...

$14.3 Million in Costs, Attorney Fees and Interest Awarded Against GEO Group in Suits for Not Paying Minimum Wage to Immigrant Detainee Workers in Washington

Brings total the firm is ordered to pay to $37.6 million

by Matt Clarke

On December 14, 2021, a Washington federal court issued additional orders in lawsuits against Florida-based private prison operator GEO Group for failing to pay immigration detainees the state-mandated minimum wage, adding over $14.3 million to the ...

Eighth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Private Companies Providing Missouri Prisoner’s Health Care

by Matt Clarke

On August 24, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that private companies providing health care for prisoners are not entitled to assert qualified immunity or appeal its denial.

The underlying case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of ...

Medical Paroles Revoked in California and Massachusetts

by Matt Clarke

Medical parole has always been rare, but new policies in California and Massachusetts are causing medical parolees to be reincarcerated and further limiting those eligible for medical parole.

California has approved 210 medical paroles since 2014, far more than most other states. But its new policy announced ...

$170,000 in Attorney’s Fees, Solitary Confinement Reforms Achieved in Settlement of Maine Prisoner’s Lawsuits

by Matt Clarke

In July 2021, the Maine Department of Corrections (DOC) settled state and federal lawsuits brought by a prisoner kept in solitary confinement for 22 months without seeing any evidence of a disciplinary violation. DOC agreed to reform its solitary confinement policies, including a 30-day cap on stays ...

Federal Court Sanctions Wexford for Discovery Abuse in Illinois Prisoner’s Suit

by Matt Clarke

On June 3, 2021, a federal court in Illinois granted a state prisoner’s motion for sanctions against Wexford Health Sources for responding to a specific discovery request by providing 272,000 pages of documents it had converted into a nearly useless format.

With the assistance of Oakbrook attorney ...

$199,000 Awarded to California Detainee Assaulted by Santa Clara County Jail Guard

by Matt Clarke

On July 13, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded a former Santa Clara County pretrial detainee $11,000 in damages for injuries received when he was assaulted by a guard at the county jail. The Court then charged the defendant another $188,340.08 ...

Ninth Circuit: California Jail Prisoners Have No Constitutional Right Per Se to Outdoor Recreation and Direct Sunlight

by Matt Clarke

On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision not to expand a preliminary injunction issued on behalf of California jail detainees to include a requirement of access to outdoor recreation and direct sunlight for convicted prisoners.

The ...