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Case Name Romero v. Securus Technologies, Inc. PC-CA-0075
Docket / Court 3:16-cv-01283-JM-MDD ( S.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On May 27, 2016, former California state prisoners filed this class action lawsuit against Securus Technologies (a prison phone service provider) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of California. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought class action ... read more >
On May 27, 2016, former California state prisoners filed this class action lawsuit against Securus Technologies (a prison phone service provider) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of California. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought class action certification, declaratory and injunctive relief, and monetary damages. The complaint asserted that Securus had recorded prisoners’ phone calls in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act, which allowed for statutory damages of up to $5,000 for every unlawfully recorded call, and also alleged negligence.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that Securus recorded confidential attorney-client phone calls without permission of all parties and that Securus shared recordings with law enforcement personnel. Based on the Intercept's article that 70 million phone call recordings were made by Securus, the plaintiffs estimated that half a million calls between public defenders and clients were unlawfully recorded each year.

The putative class was specified as all persons in California whose conversations were eavesdropped on or recorded by Securus from June 1, 2008 to May 27, 2016, without permission and while in the custody of law enforcement officers or agencies and their attorneys.

This case was assigned to Judge Jeffrey T. Miller. On July 5, 2016, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that plaintiffs lacked standing because their phone calls were not recorded and they were no longer in prison.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 26, 2016, which included additional causes of action, such as fraudulent concealment/intentional omission of material facts, fraud and intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and conversion. The defendant moved to dismiss the amended complaint on August 26, 2016.

On October 24, 2016, Judge Miller granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion. The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ conversion claim without leave to amend and dismissed the fraudulent misrepresentation claim with leave to amend. The court denied the remainder of the defendant’s motion. 2016 WL 6157953. The plaintiffs timely amended the fourth cause of action in their second amended complaint on November 7, 2016. The defendant moved to dismiss the second amended complaint on November 25, 2016.

On January 26, 2017, Judge Miller granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint. The court held that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b)’s particularity requirements and California law in alleging misrepresentations. 2017 WL 385743.

On February 8, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint to satisfy the fraud claim under Rule 9(b). The defendant again moved to dismiss, and on March 29, 2017, Judge Miller granted the motion without leave to amend, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to adequately plead fraud. 2017 WL 1166365.

On October 10, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify a class comprised of other prison detainees whose calls had allegedly been recorded by the defendant, which the plaintiffs asserted comprised over 120 individuals. On the same day, the plaintiffs requested that documents in this case be sealed. Judge Miller granted the motion to seal on November 7.

On April 12, 2018, Judge Miller denied the plaintiffs’ motion to certify class without prejudice because the plaintiffs had failed to identify an ascertainable and manageable class. 2018 WL 1782926. The plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on May 22, and filed a renewed motion to certify a class on July 11, 2018, and Judge Miller ordered the parties to meet and confer to create a joint discovery plan on August 7, 2018. On August 17, 2018, the court granted the parties’ motion to stay its ruling on the renewed motion to certify class pending the result of the parties’ attempt to secure private mediation. On November 21, 2018, Judge Miller denied the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment and granted in part the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, certifying a class consisting of every person in the physical custody of a law enforcement officer in California (and their attorneys) who had been eavesdropped on or recorded by the defendant. 331 F.R.D. 391.

The plaintiffs petitioned for leave to appeal the denial of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment to the Ninth Circuit. This petition was denied. 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 5728. However, the Ninth Circuit granted the defendant’s petition for leave to appeal the district court’s class certification decision. 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6334. On April 17, 2019, Judge Miller granted the defendant's motion to stay the case pending resolution of the defendant's appeal before the Ninth Circuit. 383 F. Supp. 3d 1069.

Following the Ninth Circuit's grant of review of Securus' petition, the Ninth Circuit appointed a mediator. After multiple status conferences with the mediator, a settlement agreement was reached between the parties. On March 12, 2020, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal without prejudice pending approval of the settlement by the district court.

In its June 16, 2020 order preliminarily approving the parties' settlement agreement, the court approved the following class definition:

"Every person who was a party to any portion of a conversation between a person who was in the physical custody of a law enforcement officer or other public officer in California, and that person's attorney, on a telephone number designated or requested not to be recorded, any portion of which was eavesdropped on or recorded by Defendant Securus Technologies, Inc. by means of an electronic device during the period July 10, 2008 through June 16, 2020." 2020 WL 6799401.

Under the settlement agreement, Securus agreed to make available to its customers a no-cost “private call” option for approved numbers, implement message prompts advising callers whether the call will be recorded, and post on its website information about designating numbers as approved. The defendant also agreed to provide plaintiff's counsel with bi-annual compliance declarations and to pay attorneys' fees and costs. The court awarded $870,000 in attorneys' fees and costs, as well as $10,000 to each of the three named plaintiffs as a service award. Final judgment in the suit was entered on November 19, 2020.

The court retained jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing the parties’ settlement agreement.

Susie Choi - 02/01/2017
Lisa Limb - 03/23/2018
Elizabeth Helpling - 11/19/2019
Rachel Harrington - 04/15/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Confidentiality
Phone
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Securus Technologies, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Former prisoners who had used Securus phones while confined in San Diego County detention facilities.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 05/27/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Cal.
11/19/2020
3:16−cv−01283−JM−MDD
PC-CA-0075-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Cal.
05/27/2016
Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief Pursuant to California Penal Code §636 and Based on Negligence [ECF# 1]
PC-CA-0075-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
07/26/2016
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-CA-0075-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
10/24/2016
Order Granting In Part And Denying In Part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss And Denying Defendant's Motion to Strike Class Action Allegations [ECF# 21] (2016 WL 6157953)
PC-CA-0075-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
11/07/2016
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 22]
PC-CA-0075-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
01/26/2017
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 29] (2017 WL 385743)
PC-CA-0075-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
02/08/2017
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 30]
PC-CA-0075-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
03/29/2017
Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Portions of Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 37] (2017 WL 1166365)
PC-CA-0075-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
04/17/2017
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Expedite Discovery and for a Preservation Order [ECF# 42] (2017 WL 2869727)
PC-CA-0075-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
10/16/2017
Order on Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute Regarding Defendant's Responses to Written Discovery [ECF# 66] (2017 WL 4621223)
PC-CA-0075-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
10/31/2017
Order Denying Motion to Intervene [ECF# 73] (2017 WL 4922845)
PC-CA-0075-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
11/20/2017
Order Denying Motion to Modify Plaintiff's Deadline to Amend Pleadings [ECF# 80] (2017 WL 5569811)
PC-CA-0075-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
01/05/2018
Order Denying Defendant's Motion for Relief from Non-dispositive Pretrial Order of Magistrate Judge [ECF# 91] (2018 WL 2560327)
PC-CA-0075-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
04/12/2018
Order Denying Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 93] (2018 WL 1782926)
PC-CA-0075-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D. Cal.
11/21/2018
Order Denying Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Granting in Part Motion for Certification [ECF# 141] (331 F.R.D. 391)
PC-CA-0075-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
04/17/2019
Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Stay Pending Appeal [ECF# 168] (383 F.Supp.3d 1069)
PC-CA-0075-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Cal.
11/19/2020
Order on Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Order on Motion for Costs, Incentive Awards, and Attorneys' Fees [ECF# 184] (2020 WL 6799401)
PC-CA-0075-0016.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dembin, Mitchell D Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-0008 | PC-CA-0075-0009 | PC-CA-0075-0011 | PC-CA-0075-9000
Miller, Jeffrey T. (S.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-0004 | PC-CA-0075-0005 | PC-CA-0075-0007 | PC-CA-0075-0010 | PC-CA-0075-0012 | PC-CA-0075-0013 | PC-CA-0075-0014 | PC-CA-0075-0015 | PC-CA-0075-0016 | PC-CA-0075-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Belsey, Adam (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Fox, Nicholas J. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Gallucci, Kas L (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Houchin, Michael (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Marron, Ronald (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-0001 | PC-CA-0075-0002 | PC-CA-0075-0003 | PC-CA-0075-0006 | PC-CA-0075-9000
Raux, Geoffrey M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Resendes, Beatrice Skye (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Richards, William Bradford Jr. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Ridley, Eileen Regina (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Teel, Robert (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-0001 | PC-CA-0075-0002 | PC-CA-0075-0003 | PC-CA-0075-0006 | PC-CA-0075-9000
Waxman, J. Mark (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fox, Adam R. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000
Other Lawyers Rodriguez, Pedro (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0075-9000

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