University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McGrath v. County of Nevada JC-CA-0008
Docket / Court 2:89-cv-01658-GEB-JFM ( 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 December 4, 1989, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of all present and future prisoners of the Nevada County Jail and Nevada County Detention Center against Nevada County in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Plaintiff prisoners ... read more >
On December 4, 1989, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of all present and future prisoners of the Nevada County Jail and Nevada County Detention Center against Nevada County in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Plaintiff prisoners alleged violations of their First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In particular, prisoners alleged that they were deprived of beds, seating at meals, clothing, medical, dental, and mental health care, safety, access to attorneys, reasonable visitation, prompt determination of probable cause for detention, and prompt bail determinations. The prisoners were represented by several counsel, including the Prisoner Rights Union in Sacramento, California.

Declarations filed in the case indicated that prisoners were eating and sleeping on the hallway floors at the Nevada County Jail, and on March 6, 1990, the parties agreed to a stipulated injunction which was submitted to the District Court (Judge John Moulds). The District Court (Judge Moulds) entered the injunction on October 31, 1990. The injunction imposed a strict population cap on the county jails and required the County to remove all beds from the hallways, to provide each prisoner with a bed, to provide dental care according to accepted community standards, and to provide prompt judicial probable cause hearings. Prisoners' attorneys were also allowed unlimited and unannounced access for the purpose of monitoring compliance.

In March 1992, prisoners of the Nevada County jails were moved to a new facility, and the County sought to dismiss the prisoners' action. The District Court dismissed the action on February 26, 1993.

There was a subsequent dispute regarding the District Court's award of attorney's fees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Herbert Young Cho Choy) ultimately vacated the award and remanded the case to the District Court to calculate a reasonable fee. McGrath v. Cnty. of Nevada, 67 F.3d 248 (9th Cir. 1995). The parties subsequently agreed to settle the issue of attorney's fees.

Megan Raynor - 02/05/2006
Kathryn DeLong - 10/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Nevada
Plaintiff Description All present and future inmates of the Nevada County Jail and Nevada County Detention 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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1990 - 1993
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
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)
89-cv-01658-GEB-JFM (E.D. Cal.) 12/08/1995
JC-CA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 12/04/1989
JC-CA-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Preliminary Injunction 10/03/1990 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Order (Motion To Dimiss Granted) 02/26/1993 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Reported Opinion 10/03/1995 (67 F.3d 248)
JC-CA-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Burrell, Garland Ellis Jr. (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Choy, Herbert Young Cho (Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0008-0001
Garcia, Edward J. (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0008-0003 | JC-CA-0008-9000
Moulds, John F. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Herman, Richard P. (California)
JC-CA-0008-0001 | JC-CA-0008-9000
Munkelt, Stephen Alan (California)
JC-CA-0008-0002 | JC-CA-0008-9000
Persons, Paul Turner (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Stormer, Dan Lewis (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bishop, Brian A. (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Curtis, James A. Jr. (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
DeGraw, Harold E. (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Wellner, Melanie Katharine (California)
JC-CA-0008-9000
Woodlock, Lawrence T. (California)
JC-CA-0008-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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