University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Riley v. Los Angeles County JC-CA-0056
Docket / Court BC239825 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This case, Riley v. County of Los Angeles, was one of many cases filed against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department [LASD] in the late 1990s and early 2000 that challenged various policies and practices of the LASD relating to the operation of its Jail. The suit in Riley was filed against ... read more >
This case, Riley v. County of Los Angeles, was one of many cases filed against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department [LASD] in the late 1990s and early 2000 that challenged various policies and practices of the LASD relating to the operation of its Jail. The suit in Riley was filed against the County and the Sheriff on November 6, 2000 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Riley's attorneys, the Law Offices of Litt & Associates, were class counsel in other similar cases pending in federal and state court in California, including Williams v. Block, Case No. CV-97-03826-WJR (C.D.Cal.) (JC-CA-33 of this database).

Shortly after suit was filed, the Court entered a stipulated order to stay all further proceedings while the parties engaged in settlement negotiations. The LASD eventually entered into a global settlement agreement that resolved issues in the Riley case and some dozen other lawsuits pending in federal and state court. The claims raised in those suits fell into three classes: (1) "overdetentions" (i.e., persons not released from custody from the Los Angeles County jails within a reasonable period of time after they became entitled to release); (2) strip and visual body cavity searches of persons who had been returned to jail from court to be processed for release; and (3) wrong warrant arrests and detentions (persons arrested on a warrant that in fact was for another person, and held for an unreasonable period of time before being released). As part of the settlement, LASD agreed to pay $27 million in damages and also agreed to institute major injunctive-type reforms. The class damages portion of the settlement was handled by the court in Williams v. Block. (See JC-CA-33 for a summary of the Williams case). The injunctive relief component was resolved by the Riley case.

A Class Actions Injunctive Relief Agreement was entered by the parties in September 2001. That Agreement called for institution of LASD practices meeting the following criteria by July 31, 2001:

♦ Overdetentions - People shall be released within eight hours of the entry of entitlement to release into the LASD computer system, or, for court returnees and those with expired sentences, by midnight of the day they become entitled to release, unless they sign a form requesting to be returned to the general population before release.

♦ Strip/Visual Body Cavity Searches - People returned from court and entitled to immediate release shall not be subjected to a strip or visual body cavity search without reasonable suspicion on an individualized basis.

♦ Wrong Warrant Arrests - There shall be implementation of policies that specifically include the use of Live Scan in an attempt to make a positive identification when an inmate claims he or she is being held on a warrant for another person. A determination whether he or she is in fact the person named in the warrant will be made within 24 hours after a complaint form is provided by the inmate to LASD personnel for completion of a Disputed Warrant Verification Form.

As part of the injunctive relief settlement, the LASD also agreed to pay $5.5 million in attorneys' fees to class counsel.

Dan Dalton - 01/20/2008

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Plaintiff Description Individuals detailed at the LA County jails and subjected to 1) overdetention; 2) strip and/or visual body cavity searches; and/or 3) wrong warrant arrests and detentions.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-CA-0033 : Williams v. County of Los Angeles (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

BC239825 (State Trial Court) 09/05/2001
JC-CA-0056-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Class Actions Injunctive Relief Agreement 09/01/2001
JC-CA-0056-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges Bascue, James (State Trial Court)
Klausner, Gary (State Trial Court)
Kough, Ann (State Trial Court)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burton, John C. (California)
Litt, Barrett S. (California)
Defendant's Lawyers Lawrence, David D. (California)
Pellman, Lloyd W. (California)
Riley , Martha (California)
Other Lawyers None on record

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