A federal judge has denied a request to certify a class action in a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections over the use of solitary confinement in prisons.
U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor on Monday issued a 22-page ruling rejecting requests by plaintiffs to turn the case into a class action on behalf of a wide range of inmates. Winsor said the plaintiffs had not met legal tests, including not providing specific details about relief they sought.
“Plaintiffs’ inability to specify the injunctive relief sought necessarily means they have not shown a single injunction would benefit all class (or subclass) members. … And Plaintiffs cannot sidestep this rule by requesting an injunction so broad that it technically covers the entire class but that would compel different conduct as to each class member,” Winsor wrote.
He also said the plaintiffs had not shown “commonality” in their claims. “The problem is that plaintiffs have not presented evidence that all (or even most) class members face the same conditions or combination of interrelated conditions,” Winsor wrote.
Attorneys from Florida Legal Services, the Florida Justice Institute and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit in 2019, alleging the Department of Corrections’ use of solitary confinement violates the constitutional rights of inmates, including inmates with disabilities.
While Winsor denied class certification, the underlying lawsuit remains pending.
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