University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mata Alvarado v. Superior Court of Los Angeles PB-CA-0047
Docket / Court FCS050284 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On February 8, 2016, two low-income female drivers - one Latina, the other African American - filed this lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court of California against the same court, under the (i) California Vehicle Code (ii) 42 USC §1983, (iii) California Constitution (iv) the state civil ... read more >
On February 8, 2016, two low-income female drivers - one Latina, the other African American - filed this lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court of California against the same court, under the (i) California Vehicle Code (ii) 42 USC §1983, (iii) California Constitution (iv) the state civil procedure code, (v) Government Code §11135 and (vi) Penal Code §1214.1. The plaintiffs, represented by the Western Center on Law and Poverty and other attorneys, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the Los Angeles Superior Court had been suspending driver's licenses simply because drivers could not pay citation fees, without prior analyzing whether the nonpayment was willful. The plaintiffs also alleged that the court violated drivers' due process rights by stripping them of the ability to fight the suspensions. According to the complaint, these practices resulted in disproportionate driver's license suspensions and arrests for failures to pay traffic citations in Black and Latino communities in the Los Angeles area.

On February 5, 2018, the case was transferred to the Superior Court of California for the County of Solano. On the same day, the parties filed a joint request for conditional dismissal with prejudice, upon a settlement and release agreement. Under the settlement agreement, the defendant agreed to (i) allow all traffic/infraction defendants to demonstrate their inability to pay a fine, (ii) notify them of their right to do so, and (iii) train court personnel on the new rules. The defendant also agreed to pay $87,500 in attorneys' fees. The parties agreed to a 12-month period during which plaintiffs' counsel would monitor compliance with the agreement. As a result, the plaintiffs conditionally dismissed the case with prejudice, agreeing to file a request dismissal with prejudice after the 12-month monitoring period ends, which will happen in August 2019.

Daniele de Oliveira Nunes - 03/25/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Required disclosure
Training
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Drivers Licenses
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles
Plaintiff Description Two female low-income drivers - one Latin, the other African American.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Conditional Dismissal
Order Duration 2018 - 2019
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
BC628849 (State Trial Court)
PB-CA-0047-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/03/2017
Source: State Court Website
FCS050284 (State Trial Court)
PB-CA-0047-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2018
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
PB-CA-0047-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2016
Order Dismissing and Settlement Agreement
PB-CA-0047-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2018
Source: ACLU
show all people docs
Judges Mattice, Michael Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-9001
Nichols, Colleen M. Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dozier, Antionette D (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001 | PB-CA-0047-0002 | PB-CA-0047-9001
Pastore, Claire Iris (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Rapkin, Scott B. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Rothschild, Richard (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Seplow, Michael D. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Turney, CT (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Zhen, Theresa (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Naeve, Robert A (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-9000
Reilley, Erica L. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0047-0002 | PB-CA-0047-9001

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