By: Daily Record Staff//August 22, 2011
By: Daily Record Staff//August 22, 2011//
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Mootness — Relation-back
Amador v. Superintendents of Dep’t of Corr. Servs.
Judges Winter, Cabranes and Hall
Background: Thirteen female inmates appealed from the dismissal of their class action complaint. The inmates brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief compelling the Department of Correctional Services to alter its practices and procedures so as to enhance the protection of the class from sexual assault, abuse and harassment. The suit was dismissed on the grounds that some of the claims of the named plaintiffs were moot and that the remaining named plaintiffs had failed to exhaust available remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Act.
Ruling: The Second Circuit vacated the dismissal. The Second Circuit found that the claims of those prisoners, who are now free from DOCS custody, are not moot. The court applied a relation-back theory and held that the class claims were preserved for certification purposes that would be moot if asserted only as individual claims. The court also concluded that three of the appellants had exhausted the applicable internal prison grievance proceedings.
Dori Lewis of the Prisoner’s Rights Project Legal Aid Society for the appellants; Richard O. Jackson for the supervisory appellees; Joseph M. Latona for the appellee Charles Davis; Christopher Kennedy for the appellees Michael Evans and Jeffrey Shawyer; Liknda M. Cronin for the appellees Rick Larue and Rico Meyers; Hogan Willig and diane R. Tiveron for the appellee John E. Gilbert III