Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Brown v. Plata

United States Supreme Court
131 S.Ct. 1910 (2011)


Facts

Severe overcrowding of California’s prisons, as well as deficient mental health and medical care and lack of state resources led to the filing of two class actions. The first, Coleman v. Brown, involved prisoners with serious mental disorders. There, a district court found “overwhelming evidence of the systematic failure to deliver necessary care” to inmates. The second case, Brown v. Plata, involved a class of prisoners with serious medical conditions. In that case, the State conceded that deficiencies in prisons violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. The court found that the California “prison medical care system is broken beyond repair,” resulting in an “unconscionable degree of suffering and death.” The Coleman and Plata plaintiffs moved their respective district courts to convene a three-judge court empowered under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PRLA) to order reductions in the prison population. After extensive testimony and evidence, the three-judge court ordered California to submit a plan to construct new facilities in order to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of the prisons’ design capacity within two years which would result in the release of 38,000 to 46,000 inmates. California appealed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 203,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.