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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger PC-CA-0035
Docket / Court 4:07-cv-02058-CW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On April 12, 2007, Prison Legal News, a non-profit organization that published materials of interest to inmates, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claimed that the California Department of Corrections ... read more >
On April 12, 2007, Prison Legal News, a non-profit organization that published materials of interest to inmates, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claimed that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) engaged in unlawful censorship policies and practices in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the CDCR prohibited the delivery of the plaintiff's monthly newsletter and other publications to certain inmates because of arbitrary censorship regulations.

The plaintiff and the CDCR reached a private settlement of the case prior to the filing of the lawsuit. The settlement specified that the plaintiff's attorneys reserved their right to pursue claims for fees and costs for work related to the agreement. The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court, which retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the agreement and to determine reasonable fees and costs.

According to the Settlement Agreement, the CDCR agreed to change its policies regarding incoming and outgoing mail and to notify publishers when it excluded any publications from its prisons. The CDCR also agreed to carry subscriptions to the plaintiff's monthly newsletter in all of the 157 prison libraries in the CDCR for 5 years. CDCR agreed to pay the sum of $65,100 to cover the cost of the 5 year subscription, with the remainder constituting monetary damages. CDCR also agreed to pay reasonable costs and attorney's fees to the plaintiff. At that time, the parties stipulated that the plaintiff was entitled to $320,000 in attorneys' fees. On September 5, 2007, the District Court (Judge Claudia Wilken) issued an order confirming the agreed upon $320,000 for attorneys' fees accrued by the plaintiff through December 11, 2006.

However, CDCR opposed the plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees and costs for work performed after the agreement was executed. The plaintiff subsequently moved for $137,672.79 in fees and costs for work performed after the settlement was signed, including compliance monitoring from December 12, 2006, through August 31, 2007. On April 10, 2008, the Court ordered CDCR to pay the plaintiff $137, 672.79 in attorneys' fees and closed the case. However, the plaintiff filed a second motion for attorneys' fees and costs in October 2008. On December 5, 2008, the Court ordered CDCR to pay the plaintiff $137,502.46 in attorneys' fees accrued from September 1, 2007, through October 15, 2008. CDCR appealed and the Ninth Circuit upheld the fee award on June 9, 2010.

The Ninth Circuit held that under the terms of the agreement, the plaintiff could properly seek fees for monitoring compliance with the settlement, including "reviewing and responding to letters from inmates in CDCR institutions complaining about access to published materials." Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 608 F.3d 446, 453 (9th Cir. 2010). The Court of Appeals upheld the full award of $137,502.46 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The plaintiff subsequently moved for additional fees and costs several times, all of which have been granted by the Court.

Dan Dalton - 04/16/2007
Jessica Kincaid - 11/04/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Plaintiff Description A non-profit Washington charitable corporation petitioning to allow receipt of the publication "Prison Legal News" by CDCR prisoner subscribers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-CA-0014 : Ashker v. California Department of Corrections (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Links Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:07-cv-2058 (N.D. Cal.) 12/21/2012
PC-CA-0035-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Settlement Agreement 12/11/2006
PC-CA-0035-0002 PDF | Detail
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under the Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Damages 04/12/2007
PC-CA-0035-0001 PDF | Detail
Stipulated Order Confirming Attorney's Fees and Costs 09/05/2007 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0035-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Recovery of Fees and Establishment of a Semi-Annual Fee Process 04/10/2008 (561 F.Supp.2d 1095) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0035-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Recovery of Attorneys' Fees and Costs 12/05/2008 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0035-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 06/09/2010 (608 F.3d 446)
PC-CA-0035-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Re: Settlement of Plaintiff's Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs 12/22/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0035-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Re: Settlement of Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs 07/18/2012 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0035-0008 PDF | Detail
Judges O'Scannlain, Diarmuid Fionntain (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0035-0006
Wilken, Claudia Ann (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0035-0003 | PC-CA-0035-0004 | PC-CA-0035-0005 | PC-CA-0035-0007 | PC-CA-0035-0008 | PC-CA-0035-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Galvan, Ernest (California)
PC-CA-0035-9000
Lang, Megan Regina (California)
PC-CA-0035-0001 | PC-CA-0035-9000
Morris, Maria V (California)
PC-CA-0035-9000
Rosen, Sanford Jay (California)
PC-CA-0035-0001 | PC-CA-0035-0002 | PC-CA-0035-0007 | PC-CA-0035-0008 | PC-CA-0035-9000
Thompson, Blake (California)
PC-CA-0035-9000
Whelan, Amy (California)
PC-CA-0035-0001 | PC-CA-0035-0004 | PC-CA-0035-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brinkman, Emily L. (California)
PC-CA-0035-0004 | PC-CA-0035-0007 | PC-CA-0035-9000
Jorgenson, Michael W. (California)
PC-CA-0035-0002
Kwong, William C (California)
PC-CA-0035-9000
O'Brien, Jillian Renee (California)
PC-CA-0035-9000
Weader, Jillian R. (California)
PC-CA-0035-0008
Other Lawyers None on record

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