On February 8, 1980, prisoners at the Sonoma County Jail in Santa Rosa filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, against the County of Sonoma. The plaintiffs brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief. We have limited documentation of this case - only the docket is available to us, and it does not include entries for the first decade of litigation -- but we do have the following information:
The District Court appointed Thomas Lonergan as a monitor for this case in December 1982 and he served in that capacity until the Court dismissed the case in June 1994. Madrid v. Gomez
, 889 F. Supp. 1146, 1282 n.231 (N.D. Cal. 1995).
In 1985, the parties reached a settlement. Lynn J. Lund, Mark J. Morrise & Alton Jordan, Nat'l Inst. of Corr., 136 Nebraska Jail Bulletin 9 (1997), available at
http://www.ncc.ne.gov/pdf/jail_standards/jail_bulletins/136.pdf. It covered, among other things, disciplinary actions, classification decisions, medical treatment, mental health services (including use of force by staff, suicides, attempt suicides, and in-custody deaths), recreation, general living conditions, and adequacy of food, with the monitor tasked with ensuring compliance. Curricula Vitae of Patrick T. Maher, available at
http://ca-sanbernardinoschools.civicplus.com/archives/152/June%2008%202011%20Agenda%20package.pdf. The Court also awarded the plaintiffs $2,000,000 in attorneys' fees. Lund et al., supra
, at 9.
The docket informs us that construction of a new jail was also a part of the litigation: on August 14, 1991, the Court (Judge Thelton E. Henderson) ordered the County to complete occupation of the new jail by October 18 of that year or be fined $8,000 per day of lateness. The Court also issued an order regarding double celling, but the exact content of that order is unclear from the docket.
On June 22, 1994, the Court (Judge Henderson) dismissed the case with prejudice and declared all prior orders and judgments to be of no further effect, presumably because a new jail had been constructed and occupied.Christopher Schad - 08/21/2012