Todd L. Klipp


Plaintiffs, detainees at the Manhattan House of Detention for Men (MHD), more commonly known as the "Tombs," brought suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Commissioner of Corrections of the City of New York, the warden, the mayor, and various state officials. Plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of their detention constituted a denial of their rights under the first, fifth, sixth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found unconstitutional conditions did exist and ordered the city to submit a plan within thirty days to remedy the constitutional infirmities. Six months later, the city had failed to produce either a plan or the money required to effectuate necessary changes. The district court, in a supplementary opinion, held that unless such a plan were submitted by the city within thirty days the Tombs would be closed. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed as to the finding of unconstitutionality, but stayed the order closing the Tombs and remanded for further consideration of the remedy. Shortly after the decision, the city made the question of appropriate remedy moot by deciding to close the Tombs and shift its population to the city institution at Rikers Island.