New York inmate obtains precedential decision regarding mandatory procedural safeguards concerning solitary confinement
Jones Day pro bono client Mr. Wayne Hunter secured a payment of $75,000, in settlement of a lawsuit against New York City and employees of the City of New York Department of Correction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case involved Mr. Hunter's claims for constitutional violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on the conditions of his pretrial confinement while in the custody of the City of New York Department of Correction. While in pretrial custody, Mr. Hunter was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day; subjected to daily strip searches; and placed in non-routine security restraints, including waist chains, leg irons, and mitts.
After taking on the representation in 2014 and although discovery had been closed for more than two years, Jones Day successfully moved to re-open discovery in order to depose officials from the Department of Correction regarding Mr. Hunter's confinement. Jones Day then drafted an amended complaint on Mr. Hunter's behalf, alleging Defendants violated his constitutional rights during his pretrial confinement. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on January 16, 2015 and Judge Ronnie Abrams heard oral argument from the parties on September 11, 2015.
On September 28, 2015, the Court denied Mr. Hunter's motion for summary judgment and partially denied Defendants' motion. In denying Defendants' motion, the Court created new precedent by holding for the first time that Mr. Hunter, and others like him, have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in being afforded the mandatory procedural safeguards in the City of New York Department of Correction's directives concerning solitary confinement and the use of enhanced restraints.
Following the decision on the motions for summary judgment, on November 19, 2015, Jones Day represented Mr. Hunter at a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox where the Parties reached a settlement agreement. Jones Day then assisted in drafting a final, binding, settlement agreement and the settlement was concluded by a so-ordered stipulation of settlement and discontinuance on February 19, 2016.
Hunter v. City of New York, Case No. 10-cv-3532 (S.D.N.Y.)