Being held in jail removes a prisoner’s freedom, but it should not result in the deprivation of basic human rights. We represent prisoners who are subjected to brutality by prison and jail guards, prisoners who are denied proper medical care, and the families of prisoners who have committed suicide as a result of being denied treatment and protection by prison officials. There are also instances where prison officials “brand” an inmate, exposing them to the threat of serious harm. These cases are very complex, and require attorneys who understand the laws and how to best represent their clients.
We begin our investigation shortly after you retain our firm. We almost immediately begin requesting relevant documents, camera footage, reports, and/or prisoner grievances. We also work to identify and interview relevant witnesses.
After we do our initial investigation, we will generally prepare an Anti Litem Notice, which is required in most states, and a settlement demand. In this document, we provide a broad summary of our case and include a settlement offer. Additionally, prison litigation is subject to the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”). We work with our client(s) to ensure the requirements are met prior to filing a lawsuit (i.e. exhaustion of all administrative remedies).
In the event we are unable to reach an agreeable settlement in the pre-litigation stage, and after we ensure we meet all the prerequisites of the PLRA, we will then file a lawsuit. Where the case is filed will depend mostly on where the relevant incident occurred. For instance, a civil rights claim arising from an incident in Atlanta, Georgia would be filed in The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The Defendant(s) are required, in federal court, to file an “Answer” to our lawsuit. The answer is, essentially, the response to our lawsuit. The Defendant(s) may also elect to assert counterclaims, but this is rare in civil rights lawsuits.
After we file the lawsuit, the parties will engage in discovery. This is the phase of litigation where the parties will request and produce additional information (i.e. documents, videos, statements), as well as take depositions. The parties will also typically file motions during, or at the close of discovery, in an effort to resolve the case short of trial.
The parties may also elect to engage in alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, in an effort to get the case resolved.
After discovery ends, all motions are resolved, and the parties still do not have a resolution, the case will then move to trial.