On September 4, 1992, prisoners at the Tehama County Jail and the Work/Education Facility filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California again the County and the County Sheriff, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that, among other things, the overcrowding at the jail and the lack of access to the law library violated the Eight Amendment. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
On the same day that they filed their complaint, plaintiffs moved the Court for a preliminary injunction, and on September 15, 1992, they moved for a temporary restraining order. Plaintiffs filed a second motion for a temporary restraining order, this one relating to law library access on September 30, 1992. The District Court (Magistrate Judge John F. Moulds) held preliminary hearings on the plaintiffs' motions on October 1, 1992, and on November 3 ordered additional oral argument on the preliminary injunction.
On November 25, 1992, the parties stipulated to and the Court (Magistrate Judge Moulds) ordered an injunction that barred defendants from bedding inmates on the floor, set maximum capacities for the County Jail and the Work/Education Facility, barred defendants from adding beds over capacity, authorized the Sheriff to release prisoners from a housing unit if it came within 10% of capacity, and required the Sheriff to release prisoners or refuse new prisoners if a facility reached capacity. The order was set to expire when 75% of a new addition to the County Jail was occupied.
The parties conducted discovery of the course of the following months, and an eight-day trial was held starting June 22, 1993.
The docket indicates that defendants implemented new law library procedures, but does not detail how they differed from the previous procedures; after this, there is a four-year gap in activity.
The docket picks up again in 1997, with several status conferences, and then on February 25, 1998, the Court (Magistrate Judge Moulds) issues an order giving notice that a class action settlement has been reached, with a fairness hearing set for April 23, 1998. Under the terms of the settlement, the old part of the Tehama County Jail was to operate with a maximum bed capacity of 106 and defendants were to inform plaintiffs counsel whenever the old side operated at 90% of capacity for 30 continuous night. Defendants also agree to pay $55,000 in attorneys' fees.
After the fairness hearing, the Court (Judge Garland E. Burrell) approved the settlement and entered judgment on April 24, 1998. The docket indicates no further developments of note as of the date of this summary.Christopher Schad - 07/23/2012