HARTFORD – The Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court today granted an application to allow incarcerated people to directly appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to protect them from COVID-19. The lawsuit, Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Lamont, was filed in state court by the ACLU of Connecticut on behalf of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA) and six people who are incarcerated. It seeks emergency action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring proper sanitation and medical care, and by reducing the number of people who are incarcerated in Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) prisons and jails. A lower court judge dismissed the lawsuit on April 24. Today’s decision allows the plaintiffs to directly appeal that dismissal to the state Supreme Court.
A separate federal, class action lawsuit, McPherson v. Lamont, is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Oral arguments in that federal lawsuit will be heard on May 22.
“People who are incarcerated remain in danger because of the DOC’s backward, cruel approach to COVID-19. We welcome this swift action from the Supreme Court and are grateful for the chance to seek relief, health, and safety for our clients,” said Dan Barrett, the ACLU of Connecticut’s legal director and an attorney on the case.
In addition to Barrett, the lawyers representing incarcerated people are ACLU of Connecticut staff attorney Elana Bildner; Proloy K. Das and Kevin W. Munn of Murtha Cullina; Hope Metcalf of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School; Miriam Gohara and Marisol Oriheula of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, and David Rosen of New Haven.
For a copy of today’s decision: https://www.acluct.org/sites/default/files/2020-05-15_petition_granted.pdf
For more information regarding the lawsuit: https://www.acluct.org/en/cases/connecticut-criminal-defense-lawyers-association-et-al-v-lamont-and-cook
For information regarding the federal class action lawsuit: https://www.acluct.org/en/cases/mcpherson-et-al-v-lamont-et-al