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Case Name Schilling v. TransCor America LLC PC-CA-0051
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-00941 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On February 14, 2008, a pretrial detainee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff sued TransCor America, LLC and two of its employee officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1988. TransCor is a company that transports pretrial ... read more >
On February 14, 2008, a pretrial detainee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff sued TransCor America, LLC and two of its employee officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1988. TransCor is a company that transports pretrial detainees and prisoners throughout the United States for federal, state, and local governments. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, initiated this action on behalf of himself and all persons similarly situated. He requested declaratory and injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The complaint included two claims for relief for: (1) violations of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and (2) violation of civil rights under California Civil Code § 52.1. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant's policy, practice, or custom of transporting pretrial detainees and prisoners in poor conditions amounted to violations of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. He also claimed that these practices violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from the use to excessive force.

The plaintiff alleged that TransCor transported pretrial detainees and prisoners in small metal cages in which they could neither stand up nor lie down for more than 24 hours at a time, handcuffed, chained, and in shackles. He also claimed that TransCor failed to provide its detainees with adequate foods, fluids, exercise, hygiene, and medical care. Plaintiff also claimed that after four days of traveling, the two individual defendant employees of TransCor sprayed his face with pepper spray, walked him into poles, and punched him. Plaintiff was not allowed to shower or change clothes or see a nurse or a doctor until approximately two days later.

On May 8, 2008, the case was assigned to Judge Susan Illston who remained the district court judge for the life of the case. On August 11, 2008, she denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint but granted its motion for a more definite statement on the plaintiff's claims under California law. In response to that order, on August 21, 2008, the plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint adding two additional named plaintiffs and specifying its claimed civil rights violations under California law.

Discovery began in early 2009. Judge Illston issued a protective order to maintain business confidentiality for TransCor.

On October 14, 2009, Judge Illston denied the defendants' motion to transfer venue and granted the plaintiffs' motion to file a second amended complaint. 2009 WL 3334889. On October 19, 2009, the plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint. It widened the definition of the class to include pretrial detainees and prisoners whose claims were timely as of February 14, 2006, two years before the original complaint was filed. The plaintiffs indicated that they had unintentionally excluded class members, including juveniles and state hospital inmates, who they learned more about during pre-class certification discovery.

On February 16, 2010, Judge Illston granted part of the plaintiffs' motion for class certification by granting certification to a class more narrow than sought by the plaintiffs. 2010 WL 583972. Specifically, it defined the class as pretrial detainees and prisoners transported by TransCor on behalf of a state agency between February 14, 2006 and February 16, 2010 who were forced to remain in restraints in the transport vehicle for more than 24 hours without being allowed to sleep overnight in a bed. It excluded anyone transported by TransCor on behalf of a federal agency. She also established a subclass to include people transported for more than 24 hours without being allowed to sleep in a bed. On March 16, 2010, Judge Illston approved the plaintiffs' motion to post a notice of pendency of this class action in Prison Legal News for three successive months.

The defendants subsequently sought to appeal that order. On April 21, 2011, Judges Raymond Fisher and Milan Smith Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, denied defendants' petition to appeal the District Court's class action certification. On January 24, 2011, the United States Supreme Court denied defendants' petition for writ of certiorari.

Once back before the District Court, the parties each moved for summary judgment. On August 8, 2012, Judge Illston granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that on a class-wide basis, the fact that class members were transported, restrained, and denied overnight sleep in a bed for 24 hours did not amount to a constitutional violation. 2012 WL 3257659. She noted that this did not preclude finding a constitutional violation for individual prisoners who were detained for longer periods or in different conditions with specific injuries.

On October 11, 2012, Judge Illston denied plaintiffs’ motion to amend the class certification order to establish classes of persons transported for two, three, four or more days. The effect of these orders was to restart the clock on the statute of limitations applicable to claims of persons who had been in the originally certified class. On December 12, 2012, the court granted the plaintiffs' request to prominently publish information about the litigation in Prison Legal News, explaining that the claims of other prisoners would be barred if they did not move to file their own actions in court.

On January 31, 2013, Judge Illston ordered the case dismissed with prejudice after the parties advised her that they agreed to a private settlement, though she noted that they could file something with the court within the next 90 days to get it back on the calendar if settlement had not yet occurred. On April 3, 2013, Judge Illston granted the parties' request to amend the order to stipulate that while the claims for the three named plaintiffs were dismissed with prejudice, the claims of the other class members were dismissed without prejudice. It also stated that the settlement did not include any side paying the others' attorney fees.

On April 8, 2013, members of the original class who did not settle filed another class action complaint in the Northern District of California, which is also in this Clearinghouse. On May 24, 2013, Judge Illston issued a notice that this second suit against Transcor America was related to the first and would be reassigned to her. Transcor moved for a venue transfer to the Middle District of Tennessee, which Judge Illston granted finding that while either venue was generally proper, Tennessee was more convenient as the location of TransCor's headquarters, non-party witnesses, and relevant documents. That case was transferred on August 29, 2013.

This case, however, is now closed.

Denise Heberle - 08/03/2012
Veronica Portillo Heap - 10/06/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Unreasonable search and seizure
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : physical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Transcor America LLC
Plaintiff Description Pre-trial detainees and prisoners transported by defendant, Transcor America for periods over 24 hours, in shackles and unable to stand up or sit down.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 02/14/2008
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-TN-0016 : Cedillo v. Transcor America LLC (M.D. Tenn.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

3:08-cv-00941 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Schilling v. Transcor America (Complaint) [ECF# 1]
PC-CA-0051-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/14/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Schilling v. Transcor America (Motion to Dismiss Class Action Complaint & For a More Definite Statement) [ECF# 4]
PC-CA-0051-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Schilling v. Transcor America (Partial Grant and Denial of Motion to Dismiss the Complaint) (2008 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 64016) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0013.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/11/2008
Source: LexisNexis
Schilling v. Transcor America (Amended Complaint) [ECF# 26]
PC-CA-0051-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/21/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Schilling v. Trancor America (Motion to Transfer Venue Denied & Motion to File Second Amended Complaint Granted) (2009 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 100447) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0012.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/14/2009
Source: LexisNexis
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 83]
PC-CA-0051-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Schilling v. Transcor America (Class Certification Granted) (2010 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 20786) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0011.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/16/2010
Source: LexisNexis
Schilling v. Transcor (Notice of Pendency of Class Action) [ECF# 118] (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Schilling v. Transcor America (Denial of Writ of Certiorari to Supreme Court) (131 S.Ct. 1044)
PC-CA-0051-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/24/2011
Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 205] (2012 WL 3257659) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/08/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend [ECF# 211] (2012 WL 4859020) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/11/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Plan to Provide Class Notice [ECF# 220] (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal Upon Settlement SETTLEMENT [ECF# 223] (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Request for Amendment of Order of Dismissal Upon Settlement and Proposed Order [ECF# 225] (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0051-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Illston, Susan Yvonne (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0004 | PC-CA-0051-0006 | PC-CA-0051-0007 | PC-CA-0051-0008 | PC-CA-0051-0009 | PC-CA-0051-0010 | PC-CA-0051-0011 | PC-CA-0051-0012 | PC-CA-0051-0013 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kaizuka, Joshua (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0001 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Merin, Mark E. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0001 | PC-CA-0051-0003 | PC-CA-0051-0015 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0001 | PC-CA-0051-0010 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Snell, Karen L. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0001 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fletcher, Ashlee B (Arizona) show/hide docs
Fletcher, Matthew Edward (California) show/hide docs
Lewis, David C. (Arizona) show/hide docs
Love, Rachel (Arizona) show/hide docs
Spillner, Justus C. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0002 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0051-0010 | PC-CA-0051-9000
Wahlin, Lisa S. (Arizona) show/hide docs

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