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MONMOUTH CTY. CORRECTIONAL INST. INMATES v. LANZAR

May 29, 1986

MONMOUTH COUNTY CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION INMATES, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
William LANZARO, Sheriff, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ACKERMAN

 I. Introduction

 This is a class action instituted by the inmates of Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) against MCCI officials and various county and state defendants including William Lanzaro, the Monmouth County Sheriff, and William H. Fauver, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. *fn1" Plaintiffs seek preliminary injunctive relief from the policies and practices of county defendants at MCCI, which allegedly deny pregnant inmates essential health care with respect to counseling, access to, and funding for abortions. Plaintiffs challenge the validity of these policies and practices under both the New Jersey and United States Constitutions.

 II. Background

 In June 1983, plaintiffs filed an Amended and Supplemental Class Action Complaint following the consolidation by this court of various pro se civil actions by the inmates at MCCI. Plaintiffs challenged the overcrowding and various other conditions at the institution. Thereafter, this court issued an order granting constitutionally-mandated relief from the overcrowding and directed that other corrective measures be implemented.

 In January 1985, plaintiffs applied for an Order to Show Cause, seeking preliminary injunctive relief from systemic deficiencies in meeting the general health care needs of pregnant inmates. The parties subsequently entered into a consent judgment which provided for whatever immediate relief was "necessary to protect the health of the female inmates." Unable to obtain any services through MCCI which were related to the termination of inmate pregnancies, plaintiffs, in April of this year, applied again for an Order to Show Cause with temporary restraints and requested that county defendants be required to provide all necessary medical care, including counseling, access to, and funding for abortions to Jane Doe, a pregnant inmate and member of the class, and all other class members. Following the release of Jane Doe, the class representative, *fn2" this court denied plaintiffs' application for temporary restraints and set a date for the preliminary injunctive hearing.

 III. Findings of Fact

 The facts are undisputed. At the time plaintiffs filed the instant petition, Jane Doe was approximately nine weeks pregnant. See Affidavit of Jane Doe, Apr. 15, 1986. Prior to the hearing on plaintiff's application it was learned that another inmate, Mary Smith, was seeking counselling and an abortion. See Affidavit of Mary Smith, May 19, 1986. Both inmates had been denied access to and funding for an abortion by the MCCI officials pursuant to the institution's policy of providing an abortion only in a medical emergency which constitutes a life-threatening situation for the mother. The institution's policy also requires that pregnant inmates in non-life-threatening situations apply to the court for an order releasing them on their own recognizance in order to arrange personally for their abortions. For those inmates incarcerated on extremely serious charges and for whom no release is possible, there is no alternative but to carry to term. By contrast, all pregnant inmates who elect to carry to term are provided with complete prenatal care, including testing, treatment and delivery at an outside clinic.

 Plaintiffs challenge MCCI's policy of requiring pregnant inmates who desire an abortion to apply for a court-ordered release as an unconstitutional infringement upon their right to privacy, as set forth in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973), and its progeny. They contend that defendants' refusal to provide pregnant inmates with all necessary medical care related to their pregnancies constitutes deliberate indifference to plaintiffs' medical needs and, thus, deprives them of equal protection of the laws in violation of both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution, respectively. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants' discriminatory policies unconstitutionally infringe upon their rights and privileges under the New Jersey Constitution.

 In support of its policies, the county asserts its statutory obligation under N.J.Admin.Code tit. 10A § 31-3.15(a) (1979), which merely requires the county to provide "essential" medical care to the inmates. *fn3" The county contends that the provision of abortions, and other "purely elective medical procedures", would pose an insurmountable administrative and financial burden on the county. They also attempt to justify and attribute the limitations placed upon the inmates' rights and privileges to the very fact of their lawful incarceration, which allegedly necessitates such limitations.

 IV. Legal Findings

 A. Jurisdiction and the Applicable Law

 Plaintiffs allege violations of their rights and privileges under both the New Jersey and United States Constitutions. Their claims, therefore, are of both a state and federal nature. This court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (1982), which gives district courts jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. Since the federal and state constitutional claims derive from a common nucleus of operative fact, and since the court has jurisdiction over the parties, and the federal claims asserted by plaintiffs are substantial, the pendent state law claims are properly before the court. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S. Ct. 1130, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218 (1966).

 State law is applied by federal courts in three situations: (1) when they are so required by Erie v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S. Ct. 817, 82 L. Ed. 1188 (1938), (2) when they are so directed by a federal statute, or (3) as a matter of discretion in their exercise of power to so choose. 19 Wright, Miller & Cooper, Jurisdiction § 4515 (1976). The Erie doctrine applies in federal question as well as diversity cases. As the Second Circuit explained in Maternally Yours v. Your Maternity Shop, 234 F.2d 538, 540 n. 1 (2d Cir.1956):

 
It is the source of the right sued upon, and not the ground on which federal jurisdiction over the case is founded, which determines the governing law. . . . Thus, the Erie doctrine applies, whatever the ground for federal jurisdiction, to any issue or claim which has its source in state law. . . . Likewise, the Erie doctrine is inapplicable to claims or issues created and governed by federal law, even if the jurisdiction of the federal court rests on diversity of citizenship.

 Thus, this court will apply state and federal law, respectively, to the state and federal claims herein. As stated in the Rules of Decision Act, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1652 (1982): "The laws of the several states, except where the Constitution or treaties of the United States or Acts of Congress otherwise require or provide, shall be regarded as rules of decision in civil actions in the courts of the United States. . . ."

 Unfortunately, my research discloses no New Jersey or federal caselaw which addresses the right of pregnant inmates in a county jail to public funds for abortions. In deciding the state law claims, this court must make an informed prediction as to the probable ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court if it were confronted with the same case. W. A. Wright v. KDI Sylvan Pools, 746 F.2d 215 (3d Cir.1984) (citing Pennsylvania Glass Sand Corp. v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 652 F.2d 1165, 1167 (3d Cir.1981)); see also Becker v. Interstate Properties, 569 F.2d 1203, 1205 (3d Cir.1977) and cases cited therein. In so doing, this court will take account of the doctrinal trends of the law of New Jersey as well as the underlying policies of the State and rule accordingly, as mandated by the Third Circuit in Becker. Id. at 1206.

 B. Preliminary Injunction

 It is well settled that in analyzing a plaintiff's application for preliminary injunctive relief, a court must consider four factors. In Pilgrim Medical Group v. N.J. State Board of Medical Examiners, 613 F. Supp. 837, 845 (D.N.J.1985), the district court of New Jersey enumerated them as follows:

 
"(1) whether the movant has shown a reasonable probability of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant will be irreparably injured by denial of such relief; (3) whether granting preliminary relief will result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party and (4) whether granting preliminary relief will be in the public interest."

 See also SI Handling Systems, Inc. v. Heisley, 753 F.2d 1244, 1254 (3d Cir.1985), (citing Klitzman, Klitzman and Gallagher v. Krut, 744 F.2d 955, 958-59 (3d Cir.1984)); Continental Group v. Amoco Chemicals Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 356-57 (3d Cir.1980). Considering the parties' respective positions in light of the above-mentioned guidelines, and for the reasons set ...


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