University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Stiavetti v. Ahlin MH-CA-0006
Docket / Court RG15779731 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Mental Health (Facility)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 29, 2015, the ACLUs of Northern and Southern California, along with family members of criminal defendants who were declared incompetent to stand trial, filed this lawsuit in California state court. The plaintiffs sued the State of California under Article I, §§ 7 and 15 of the California ... read more >
On July 29, 2015, the ACLUs of Northern and Southern California, along with family members of criminal defendants who were declared incompetent to stand trial, filed this lawsuit in California state court. The plaintiffs sued the State of California under Article I, §§ 7 and 15 of the California Constitution, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and Cal. Code Civ. Pro. §526a. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and ACLU attorneys sought declaratory and injunctive relief, a writ of mandate, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The plaintiffs claimed that the State of California has failed to adequately and timely transfer criminal defendants, who have been found incompetent to stand trial, to appropriate treatment facilities. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that some individuals with mental disorders had been waiting for transfer for up to 258 days. The average time between the dates of commitment and admission for the most recent 25 persons admitted California treatment facilities as of February 9, 2015 had been more than 75 days. Plaintiffs alleged that the wait was even longer for those defendants with developmental disabilities. They claimed that as of April 2, 2015, 11 individuals had been waiting for more than nine months following their commitment, two for over a year. Two of the plaintiffs alleged that due to the lack of proper treatment in Sutter County Jail, their father committed suicide, while another claimed that her son was subjected to sexual abuse multiple times by another inmate while awaiting transfer.

On October 1, 2015, the defendants moved to dismiss and filed a demurrer to the plaintiffs’ complaint. Judge Winifred Y. Smith, on April 26, 2016, overruled the demurrer on all four of the plaintiffs’ actions as well as their mandamus claim, but also dismissed the State of California as a defendant. Judge Smith agreed with the defendants that some of the taxpayer allegations should be dismissed, but only in regards to one plaintiff who had no taxpayer allegations in the complaint.

On October 16, 2015, the defendants filed a motion for a stay of the discovery hearing, but Judge Evelio Grillo denied this motion on November 18, 2015.

As of June 7, 2016, this case is open and ongoing.

Matt Ramirez - 06/15/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Conditions of confinement
Placement in mental health facilities
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) State of California
Plaintiff Description Northern and Southern ACLU chapters and family members of criminal defendants who have been found incompetent to stand trial.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
RG15779731 (State Trial Court) 06/07/2016
MH-CA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint 07/29/2015
MH-CA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Defendant's Demurrer to Complaint 10/01/2015
MH-CA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Court Order Denying Defendants' Request to Stay Discovery 11/18/2015
MH-CA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Order Overruling Demurrer 04/26/2016
MH-CA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Order Overruling Motion to Strike Complaint 04/26/2016
MH-CA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Judges Grillo, Evelio Court not on record
MH-CA-0006-0003 | MH-CA-0006-0004 | MH-CA-0006-0005 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Clayton, Julia A. (California)
MH-CA-0006-9000
Oswell, Laura (California)
MH-CA-0006-0002 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Risher , Michael Temple (California)
MH-CA-0006-0002 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Sun, Christine P. (California)
MH-CA-0006-0002 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Harris, Kamala D. (California)
MH-CA-0006-0001 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Tillman, Lisa Anne (California)
MH-CA-0006-0001 | MH-CA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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