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Case Name Kaiser v. County of Sacramento JC-CA-0074
Docket / Court 2:91-cv-00300-GGH ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection California Jail Population Caps
Attorney Organization Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
Prisoners Rights Union
Case Summary
On March 12, 1991, prisoners at two Sacramento County jails filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Sacramento. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. ... read more >
On March 12, 1991, prisoners at two Sacramento County jails filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Sacramento. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. Specifically, they alleged problems with overcrowding, failure to provide beds, unequal access for women prisoners, lack of exercise, inadequate access to medical, dental and mental health treatment, and lack of law library access. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On April 5, 1991, the Court (Judge William B. Shubb) granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the County from sleeping inmates on the floor. The Court (Judge Gregory G. Hollows) partially granted a subsequent motion for a preliminary injunction on June 3, and denied a third motion on August 16. (The substance of the injunction requested in each motion is unclear from the docket.) It mostly denied a fourth motion, in which plaintiffs sought an order compelling the County to give them physical access to the jail law library, on November 20, 1991, but did order the County to post a list of available law materials in the jail's dayrooms. Kaiser v. Cnty. of Sacramento, 780 F. Supp. 1309 (E.D. Cal. 1991).

On December 6, 1991, the Court (Judge Hollows) denied a motion to dismiss by the County and granted a motion by the plaintiffs to certify the case as a class action.

Discovery continued over the course of the following year, with the Court compelling the County to disclose documents and respond to other discovery requests on several occasions and granting an interim award of attorneys' fees and costs to plaintiffs.

On November 17, 1992, plaintiffs requested a settlement conference, and the parties began to work on a settlement with the help of Magistrate Judge John F. Moulds. Discovery disputes continued, and defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment on December 14. They filed an additional motion for summary judgment on the issue of opportunity to exercise on December 22.

On January 28, 1993, the Court (Judge Hollows) approved a proposed consent decree. Under the terms of the decree, the County agreed that it would not house more than 2,000 prisoners in the main jail, that it would maintain its law library and allow access on reasonable notice, that it would assign female prisoners to the main jail as workers on a voluntary basis only, and that it would provide regular access to medical and dental care and regular opportunities to exercise. The County also agreed to pay $140,000 in attorneys' fees.

The Court entered final judgment on March 3, 1993.

On July 15, 1998, the County moved to terminate or amend the consent decree. The parties agreed to an amendment, the content of which is unclear from the docket, on August 31, 1998.

The County moved again to amend the consent decree on October 17, 2008, seeking to replace the law library with a contracted legal research service and to allow psychiatric patients to be housed at one of the facilities covered by the decree. The Court (Judge Hollows) granted the motion as to the housing of psychiatric patients on October 27, 2009. The consent decree was further modified on March 7, 2013, removing books from the law library and replacing them with computers. Inmates objected to this modification, stating that some inmates did not know how to use computers. The Court held that this objection was not an issue because computerized research is similar to using an index to search for relevant materials. In the same holding, the Court denied a class member's motion to intervene. As of July 5, 2014, there has been no further activity in this case.

Christopher Schad - 07/10/2012
Maurice Youkanna - 07/05/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Sacramento
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the Sacramento County Jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
Prisoners Rights Union
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1993 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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 ]

Docket(s)
2:91−cv−00300 (E.D. Cal.) 07/16/2013
JC-CA-0074-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Order [Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Ordering Prisoners Be Given Physical Access to the Law Library] 12/06/1991 (780 F.Supp. 1309) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0074-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Consent Decree 01/28/1993
JC-CA-0074-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Amending Consent Decree 10/26/2009 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0074-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Amending Consent Decree 03/16/2013 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0074-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hollows, Gregory G. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0074-0001 | JC-CA-0074-0002 | JC-CA-0074-0003 | JC-CA-0074-0005 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California)
JC-CA-0074-0001 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Derevan, Richard (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Fabricant, Deborah (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Herman, Richard P. (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Katz, Stewart Lee (California)
JC-CA-0074-0002 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Klein, S. Lynne (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Merin, Mark E. (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Persons, Paul Turner (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Stormer, Dan Lewis (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Elam, Lee B. (California)
JC-CA-0074-0001 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Kaiser, Steven (California)
JC-CA-0074-0001 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Wood, James Randall (California)
JC-CA-0074-0002 | JC-CA-0074-9000
Wright, Anthony Lawrence (California)
JC-CA-0074-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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