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Case Name Little v. Frederick CJ-LA-0007
Docket / Court 6:17-cv-00724 ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Case Summary
On June 5, 2017, a male Louisiana detainee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. He had been arrested and detained after being charged with felony theft and was unable to post the $375 to a for-profit bonding agent to clear his $3000 bail ... read more >
On June 5, 2017, a male Louisiana detainee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. He had been arrested and detained after being charged with felony theft and was unable to post the $375 to a for-profit bonding agent to clear his $3000 bail. The plaintiff sued the Sheriff, County Commissioner, and Chief Judge for the 15th Judicial District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Represented by Civil Rights Corps, MacArthur Justice Center, and Loyola University School of Law, the plaintiff sought to represent a class of all arrestees who are or will be detained in that state district--which covered Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermillon Parishes--for any amount of time after an arrest because they are unable to pay money bail. He claimed that the district scheme of setting bail amounts without further inquiry into a person's ability to pay violated his Due Process and Equal Protection rights under the 14th Amendment. He sought an injunction, declaratory relief, and attorney's fees and costs.

This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna and Judge Robert G. James. Judge James recused himself and the case was reassigned to Judge Elizabeth E. Foote.

The defendants filed motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. They also argued that the claim was moot because the plaintiff was no longer in jail. On July 20th, the case was stayed as the parties engaged in settlement talks under Judge Hanna's orders. After several months of unsuccessful settlement talks, the stay was lifted even though settlement discussions continued. The defendants claimed there was nothing to settle and the plaintiff claimed irreparable harm was ongoing.

On December 6, 2017, Judge Hanna filed a Report and Recommendation in response to the Commissioner's motion to dismiss. The report recommended that the motion should be granted with respect to plaintiff's equal protection claims and due process claims against the County Judge. The Judge also recommended that the motion be denied to the extent that it requested dismissal of due process claims against the Commissioner.

On December 11, 2017, Judge Hannah filed a second Report and Recommendation in response to the Sheriff's motion to dismiss. The report recommended the motion be denied with respect to subject matter jurisdiction claims because the claim was not moot and Younger abstention did not apply. However, the plaintiff had requested relief that could not be granted, and so Judge Hanna recommended dismissal.

The plaintiff objected to both of these reports and sought oral argument before Judge Foote. On January 12, 2018, Judge Foote granted a hearing. The case is ongoing.

Chelsea Rinnig - 01/19/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Courts
Disparate Impact
Over/Unlawful Detention
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) 15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana
15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana
15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description One male plaintiff seeking to represent a class of all arrestees who are or will be detained for any amount of time after an arrest because they are unable to pay money bail amount required for release.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Corps
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
6:17-cv-00724 (W.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-LA-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 58]
CJ-LA-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 59]
CJ-LA-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Foote, Elizabeth Erny (W.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0007-9000
Hanna, Patrick J. Court not on record [Magistrate]
CJ-LA-0007-0002 | CJ-LA-0007-0003 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dharia, Premal T. (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0007-0001 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Foley, Eric Andrew (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-0001 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Gerstein, Charles L. (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0007-0001 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Quigley, William Patrick (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-0001 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Schwartzmann, Katie M (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-0001 | CJ-LA-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fontenot, Cearley W. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-9000
McIntire, Patrick Bayard (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-9000
Oats, Stephen J. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-9000
Sanders, David Glen (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0007-9000

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