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Case Name Murray v. Santa Barbara JC-CA-0129
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-08805 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This was a preexisting lawsuit addressing conditions of confinement in the Santa Barbara County Jail. On March 18, 2020, class counsel wrote the county to urge significant responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter urged population reductions, and a variety of other steps ( ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This was a preexisting lawsuit addressing conditions of confinement in the Santa Barbara County Jail. On March 18, 2020, class counsel wrote the county to urge significant responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter urged population reductions, and a variety of other steps (increasing education, access to cleaning supplies, free communications methods, and the like). The parties reached a settlement that was approved in July 2020 which granted many of the plaintiffs' preexisting demands for relief.


On December 6, 2017, several prisoners of the Santa Barbara County Jail (SBCJ) in pre-trial detention filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs sued the County of Santa Barbara and the Sheriff's Office under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming violations of Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794.6, and state law. The plaintiffs, represented by Disability Rights California, the Prisons Law Office, and private counsel sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. This case was assigned to District Judge George H. Wu and referred to Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth.

The plaintiffs alleged that, in operating a jail that is old and dilapidated, severely overcrowded, and understaffed, the defendants forced prisoners to live in dangerous, unsanitary conditions. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants failed to provide adequate health care for prisoners, that they overused solitary confinement as punishment, and that the defendants discriminated against and failed to accommodate people with disabilities.

The plaintiffs sought to enjoin the defendants from continuing the unlawful acts, conditions, and practices described above. The plaintiffs wanted the defendants to provide equal access to programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities, including but not limited to housing people with physical disabilities, appropriate access to assistive devices, housing people with disabilities in the least restrictive and most integrated settings appropriate to their needs, and providing an effective grievance system to contest disability discrimination.

On the day of filing the complaint, the plaintiff filed a notice of related cases. The plaintiff asked the court to recognize two cases as being related to the present case. These cases were Quinton Gray v. County of Riverside, available in this Clearinghouse here, and George Topete v. County of San Bernardino, also available in this Clearinghouse here.

On March 6, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the case as a class action that included two classes. They defined the general class as “[a]ll people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail system.” The plaintiffs also defined a subclass (the “Disabilities Subclass”) of “[a]ll people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail system and who are qualified individuals with disabilities, as that term is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12102, the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 705(9)(B), and California Government Code § 12926(j) and (m).”

Judge Wu granted the plaintiff’s unopposed motion for class certification on May 31, 2018, certifying the class and subclass requested in the plaintiff’s motion. In late June 2018, both parties requested that the court stay discovery to engage in settlement negotiations. The parties filed periodic status reports updating the court on the progress of their negotiations. The eighth status report was filed with the court on January 17, 2020 and stated that the parties were close to final settlement terms.

On March 18, 2020, the class counsel wrote the county to urge significant responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter urged population reductions, and a variety of other steps (increasing education, access to cleaning supplies, free communications methods, and the like).

The parties filed a Notice of Settlement on July 17, 2020 that contained a Stipulated Judgment and a Remedial Plan. The Remedial Plan required the defendants to implement policy improvements in nine areas: medical care, mental health care, suicide prevention, disability accommodations and access, environmental health and safety, custody operations/segregation, staffing for health care services, and training related to treatment of prisoners with special needs. Under the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs’ class counsel and designated court-appointed experts will monitor implementation of the Plan. The court has the power to enforce the judgment through specific performance and other remedies. The judgment will last for four years with judicial oversight and enforcement through specific performance and other remedies unless terminated earlier or extended.

Attorney's costs and fees, $1,132,809, were awarded to the plaintiffs' counsel for litigation and the plaintiffs' counsel will also receive costs and fees up to $125,000 per year for monitoring and enforcement. The Consent Judgment was approved by the court on July 31, 2020.

Jake Parker - 05/29/2018
Justin Hill - 03/19/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 10/29/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Recordkeeping
Training
COVID-19
Mitigation Granted
Mitigation Requested
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Post-PLRA Population Cap
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Administrative segregation
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Effective Communication (ADA)
Grievance Procedures
Reasonable Accommodations
Rehabilitation
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Untreated pain
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Learning disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) County of Santa Barbara
Plaintiff Description Class: All people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail system. Subclass: All people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail system, who are qualified individuals with disabilities, as that term is defined in the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and California Government Code.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Granted
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 Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2020 - 2024
Filed 12/06/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing JC-CA-0105 : Gray v. County of Riverside (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0125 : Topete v. County of San Bernardino (C.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)
  Murray v. County of Santa Barbara: Prisoners file class action lawsuit for failures to provide basic health care and to meet ADA requirements at the Santa Barbara County Jail
https://www.disabilityrightsca.org
Date: March 2018
By: Disability Rights California
Citation: https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/murray-v-county-of-santa-barbara
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
C.D. Cal.
09/01/2020
2:17-cv-8805
JC-CA-0129-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
C.D. Cal.
12/06/2017
Civil Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0129-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
03/06/2018
Review of Santa Barbara County Jail Medical Services Executive Summary [ECF# 23-2]
JC-CA-0129-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
C.D. Cal.
03/06/2018
Executive Summary Roberta Stellman, M.D., DABPN Review of Mental Health Services Currently Provided by the Santa Barbara County Jail System Review Conducted between April 12-14, 2017 [ECF# 23-3]
JC-CA-0129-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
C.D. Cal.
05/31/2018
Class Action Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 35]
JC-CA-0129-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
C.D. Cal.
06/27/2018
Class Action Regarding Santa Barbara County Jail: Mental Health Care, Medical Care, Disabilities, Restrictive/Segregation Housing [ECF# 39-2]
JC-CA-0129-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
C.D. Cal.
02/28/2019
Margo L. Frasier, J.D., C.P.O. Executive Summary (Non-Confidential) Assessment of Custody Operations Santa Barbara County Jail System Site Visit April 3. 2017-April 7, 2017 [ECF# 48-1]
JC-CA-0129-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
C.D. Cal.
11/14/2019
ADA Transition Plan for Adult Detention Facility [ECF# 61-1]
JC-CA-0129-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
not recorded
03/18/2020
Jail and County Plans for COVID-19 Management
JC-CA-0129-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
C.D. Cal.
07/17/2020
Class Action Stipulated Judgment [ECF# 75-1]
JC-CA-0129-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Rosenbluth, Jean P. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Wu, George H. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0002 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Diaz, Richard Brian (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Fischer, Aaron Joseph (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0001 | JC-CA-0129-0008 | JC-CA-0129-0009 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Foster, Stacy Lynn (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Kendrick, Corene Thaedra (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0001 | JC-CA-0129-0008 | JC-CA-0129-0009 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Osorno, Jaqueline Aranda (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Romano, Julia Elizabeth (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0001 | JC-CA-0129-0009 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0001 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Stewart, Jennifer Taylor (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Toll, Joshua C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0008 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Zimmer, Donald F. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Drossel, Danielle Francine (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-9000
Holderness, Amber R (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0009 | JC-CA-0129-9000
Montez, Michelle (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0129-0009

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