University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Rucker v. Spokane County CJ-WA-0003
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-05157 ( E.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On November 20th, 2012, a class of plaintiffs who had been jailed in Spokane County, Washington for unpaid financial obligations filed this lawsuit in the Eastern District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued Spokane County for violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
On November 20th, 2012, a class of plaintiffs who had been jailed in Spokane County, Washington for unpaid financial obligations filed this lawsuit in the Eastern District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued Spokane County for violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Justice and private counsel, asked the court for monetary damages.

The plaintiffs claimed that Spokane County violated their due process rights by jailing them for unpaid legal financial obligations (LFOs). They claim that the County's practice of using non-attorney employees in the County Clerk's office to make sentencing orders and provide legal advice violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Moreover, the plaintiffs claim their rights were violated by the County's practice of sentencing jail time for unpaid LFOs without a hearing.

The parties exchanged Discovery and agreed to pursue a settlement agreement.

On September 19th, 2014, the court (Judge Lonny R. Suko) certified the class and preliminarily approved of the proposed settlement agreement. The Defendant denied all allegations, but agreed to settle and pay damages of $349,967.68 to the class.

Michael Abrams - 11/21/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Commitment procedure
Courts
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Placement in detention facilities
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Spokane County, Washington
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are a class of thousands of men and women residing in Spokane County, Washington who faced criminal liability for unpaid financial obligations, and who were deprived of access to an attorney and other legal rights due to them.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
2:12-cv-5157 (E.D. Wash.)
CJ-WA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Violations of Civil Rights [ECF# 1]
CJ-WA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Violations of Civil Rights Class Action Certification Pending [ECF# 6]
CJ-WA-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Re: Motions for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 28] (E.D. Wash.)
CJ-WA-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Class Certification for Settlement Purposes and Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement [ECF# 70] (E.D. Wash.)
CJ-WA-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/19/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement and Award of Attorneys Fees, Costs, and Incentive Awards [ECF# 83] (E.D. Wash.)
CJ-WA-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Suko, Lonny R. (E.D. Wash.)
CJ-WA-0003-0003 | CJ-WA-0003-0004 | CJ-WA-0003-0005 | CJ-WA-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beggs, Breean Lawrence (Washington)
CJ-WA-0003-0001 | CJ-WA-0003-0002 | CJ-WA-0003-9000
Biviano, Andrew Sean (Washington)
CJ-WA-0003-9000
Finer, Jeffry Keith (Washington)
CJ-WA-0003-0001 | CJ-WA-0003-0002 | CJ-WA-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kitson, Michael (Washington)
CJ-WA-0003-9000
Patterson, Michael A. (Washington)
CJ-WA-0003-9000

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