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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Tulare JC-CA-0122
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-01650-SAB ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On October 29, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of California. The Plaintiff sued the County of Tulare under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Human Rights Defense Center and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, the Plaintiff ... read more >
On October 29, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of California. The Plaintiff sued the County of Tulare under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Human Rights Defense Center and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, the Plaintiff asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as damages. PLN claimed that the County of Tulare violated its free speech, due process, and equal protection rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Specifically, the Plaintiff claimed that the County of Tulare censored its publication by adopting and implementing mail policies that prohibited delivery of the PLN mail, and the County failed to provide due process notice or opportunity to challenge the censorship. The Plaintiff requested declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages. Four days later, the Plaintiff requested a preliminary injunction.

On December 16, 2015, Judge John A. Mendez, granted in part the Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. The court denied the request that the prison be barred from censoring mail because it contained staples. Because the Defendants already ceased this policy and implemented a new one that allowed delivery of the Plaintiff's publications to jail inmates after staff removed any staples and tapes, the court held that the Plaintiff did not have a likelihood of current irreparable harm. But the court granted the Plaintiff's request that Defendants provide adequate written notice and an administrative appeal process to both prisoners and senders when Defendants refuse to deliver publications to prisoners at the County jails. The court found sufficient likelihood of success on this due process claim, that the Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm, and that the preliminary injunction was in the public's interest.

In February 2016, the parties began settlement negotiations and the court appointed Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan to mediate the settlement. The parties reached an agreement and on July 6, 2016, Judge Mendez entered a consent decree. Under the agreement, the Defendants agreed to deliver publications, correspondence, or documents sent by any publisher to prisoners and not refuse them because they contain staples, provided that the Defendants may remove the staples. Additionally, the Defendants agreed to provide adequate written notice and an administrative review process of decisions to refuse any publication, correspondence, or document sent from the publisher. The Defendants agreed to include an explanation of the new mail policy in its handbook and website and pay $15,000 in damages and an additional amount for attorneys' fees and costs. The court retained jurisdiction for the consent decree to remain in effect until a motion for termination by either party. However, the court found that the case concerned the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of a publisher and therefore, was not a case concerning prison conditions under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. On August 8, 2016, the court ordered the Defendants to pay $140,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

As of April 16, 2019, there has been no additional activity on this case, but it is technically still ongoing.

Kat Brausch - 02/18/2016
Emily Kempa - 05/27/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) County of Tulare
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, a publisher of a journal of corrections news and analysis and a distributor of books to prisoners, lawyers, etc. about the criminal justice system and legal issues affecting prisoners.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing JC-CA-0065 : Prison Legal News v. County of Sacramento (E.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:15-cv-01650-JAM-SAB (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0122-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/09/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Damages [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0122-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying in Part and Granting in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 27] (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0122-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/16/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and [Proposed] Consent Decree [ECF# 43]
JC-CA-0122-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Consent Decree [ECF# 44] (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0122-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Mendez, John A. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0002 | JC-CA-0122-0003 | JC-CA-0122-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0001 | JC-CA-0122-0003 | JC-CA-0122-0004 | JC-CA-0122-9000
Hu, Christopher David (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0001 | JC-CA-0122-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0001 | JC-CA-0122-9000
Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0001 | JC-CA-0122-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Stimmel, Kevin Alan (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0122-0003 | JC-CA-0122-0004 | JC-CA-0122-9000

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