Black Crow et al. v. Lake County et al.

Individuals incarcerated in Polson's Lake County jail have been subject to dangerous, unhygienic, and overcrowded conditions for years. As a result, inmates face significant risk of assault, regular exposure to mold and human waste, and lack access to exercise and sunlight. These conditions are disproportionately borne by enrolled members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. In addition to the physical deterioration of the jail, the jail provides access only to Christian religious ceremonies—violating both the federal and state constitutions. This lawsuit, filed in March 2022, seeks a declaration that the County has violated inmates’ rights and an injunction to prevent inmates from remaining subject to the same egregious conditions.

Notice of Class Action Certification

If you were incarcerated at the Lake County Jail at any time on or after September 3, 2021, you are a member of the class. You do not need to do anything in response to this notice. If you would like to talk to the attorneys appointed to represent the class, you may contact the following:

Constance Van Kley,

Timothy M. Bechtold,

Filings / Press

Amended Complaint (July 28, 2022)

Answer (August 18, 2022)

Seaborn Larson, Inmates sue Lake County over jail conditions, Independent Record (March 31, 2022)

Shaylee Ragar, 38 inmates sue Lake County, alleging ‘inhumane’ jail conditions, Montana Public Radio (March 31, 2022)

Conner McCauley, Lake Co. jail faces lawsuit over unlawful conditions, NBC Montana (March 31, 2022)

NBC MT Today: Jail lawsuit filed, delegation responds to Biden gas plan, cold fronts (April 1, 2022)

Maggie Dresser, Lake County Inmates Allege Inhumane Jail Conditions, Flathead Beacon (April 2, 2022)

Scot Heisel, Lake County sued over 'dangerous' jail conditions, Clark Fork Valley Press (April 6, 2022)

Megan Mannering, 38 inmates sue over Lake County jail conditions, KPAX Missoula & Western Montana (April 12, 2022)

Maria Anderson, Lake County jail inmates sue over inhumane living conditions, ABC FOX Montana (April 28, 2022)