University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Francis v. State of California PC-CA-0069
Docket / Court BC302856 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt
Case Summary
On September 23, 2003, a female prisoner sentenced to a restitution center in California filed this class action against the California Department of Corrections on behalf of herself and all past and current inmates in Los Angeles restitution centers. She brought the suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 in ... read more >
On September 23, 2003, a female prisoner sentenced to a restitution center in California filed this class action against the California Department of Corrections on behalf of herself and all past and current inmates in Los Angeles restitution centers. She brought the suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the California Superior Court on September 22, 2003 for violations of Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Represented by private counsel, she also alleged a number of state law claims against the State of California, and the Volunteers of America, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization.

The named plaintiff was incarcerated for three years while working for a private institution, and as part of the restitution center policy, her paychecks were delivered directly to the center. The center was then instructed to use the funds to first reimburse the prisoner for all work-related expenses. The remaining funds were to be divided with one third going to the center for operational costs, one third to the victim of the inmate's restitution fund, and the final third to the inmate's savings account.

The plaintiff alleged that the center improperly handled her funds by not appropriately crediting her assigned restitution fund or reimbursing her for work-related expenses. In her complaint, the plaintiff included all past and current inmates affected by the center's mishandling of accounts.

On January 5, 2004, the defendant removed the case to federal court and litigation continued with a series of motions to dismiss and amended complaints. The plaintiff filed her fourth amended complaint in November of 2005, and on May 26, 2006, Judge Dean D. Pregerson granted the defendant's motion to dismiss all federal law claims. Judge Pregerson remanded to state court on the grounds that the plaintiff did not adequately state her claim after four attempts.

The plaintiff appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit; Judges Benitez and Silverman affirmed the ruling over a dissent by Judge Berzon on September 4, 2008. Judge Berzon pointed out in her dissent that the dismissal was not on the merits but was instead based on a clerical error and that the plaintiff should have been allowed to amend.

Back in state court, the plaintiff filed a motion for class certification on January 4, 2007. Judge Shook orally denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification in a notice of ruling due to the existence of the plaintiff's class action in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the time. The plaintiff appealed this ruling to the California Court of Appeals on February 27, 2007. Judge Rothschild reversed, asserting that class certification was appropriate on the grounds that the state court claims would likely be resolved much more expeditiously that the case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Upon resolution of the class certification issue, discovery and settlement negotiations continued through 2012. Then, on August 23, 2012, the parties filed a joint motion for final approval of class settlement. The settlement, which Judge Steven J. Kleifield approved on September 27, 2012, stipulated that the defendants pay $325,000: $69,223.71 for the class members and $255,776.29 for attorney's fees. The case was dismissed with prejudice on January 2, 2013.

Nichollas Dawson - 02/01/2018
Lisa Limb - 03/29/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Work release or work assignments
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
State law
Defendant(s) State of California
Volunteers of America
Plaintiff Description Past and current restitution center inmates in the state of California
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2003
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  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
Book
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 ]

Docket(s)
2:04-cv-00039-DDP-RZ (C.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0069-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
BC302856 (State Trial Court)
PC-CA-0069-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/02/2013
Source: Bloomberg Law
General Documents
Settlement Procedure Selection: Notice, Request, and Order [ECF# 55]
PC-CA-0069-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/09/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Fourth Amendment Complaint [ECF# 154] (2006 WL 8447017) (C.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0069-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/22/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [ECF# 174] (C.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0069-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Filing of Ninth Circuit Opinion
PC-CA-0069-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/20/2009
Source: State Court Website
Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement
PC-CA-0069-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2012
Source: State Court Website
Final Approval Order [ECF# 416]
PC-CA-0069-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Kleifield, Steven J. Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0006
Pregerson, Dean D. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0003 | PC-CA-0069-9001
Zarefsky, Ralph (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Estuar, Paul J. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0001 | PC-CA-0069-0005 | PC-CA-0069-9001
Ibarra, Delia (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Litt, Barrett S. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0001 | PC-CA-0069-9000 | PC-CA-0069-9001
Miller, Bryan Barnet (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Hartford O (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0005 | PC-CA-0069-9000 | PC-CA-0069-9001
Cohn, Gerald B. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Gunny, Neil (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Raglin, Dennis E. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-0005
Thompson, Molly B.W. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Vazquez, Diyari (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001
Wolfe, Richard Frederick (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0069-9001

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