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Case Name Babu v. Ahern (Babu v. County of Alameda) JC-CA-0130
Docket / Court 5:18-cv-07677-NC ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On December 21, 2018, detainees at California’s Alameda County Jail filed a class-action complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the County of Alameda in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sued for ... read more >
On December 21, 2018, detainees at California’s Alameda County Jail filed a class-action complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the County of Alameda in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sued for violations of their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and California state law. The plaintiffs asked the court for a declaration that the jail’s ongoing practices violated their constitutional and statutory rights, and injunctive relief ordering the jail to end the use of “safety cells” and to give prisoners with psychiatric disabilities access to adequate mental health care. The case was assigned to Judge Nathanael M. Cousins.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that suicidal prisoners were thrown into “safety cells,” “where they are stripped naked and given only a smock to cover themselves. The safety cells contain no furniture and only a hole in the ground for prisoners to use as a bathroom, meaning that prisoners have to sleep and eat on the same floor that they must also urinate and defecate on and are also unable to wash their hands after going to the bathroom.” Although jail policy limited confinement in these cells to seventy-two hours, the complaint alleged that the prisoners had been forced to stay in those cells for a week or more at a time, causing prisoners to stop reporting suicidal feelings to staff in order to avoid being thrown into these cells.

On December 6, 2019, the plaintiffs and the jail filed a joint motion for class certification. On January 21, 2020, the court certified a class of “All adults who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in the Alameda County Jail,” and a subclass of all members of the primary class “with a psychiatric disability,” as defined by the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and California statute. As of August 2020, a jury trial is scheduled for January 25, 2021.

Lisa Limb - 03/20/2019
Bogyung Lim - 08/04/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Rehabilitation
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Suicide prevention
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.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) County of Alameda
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are detainees incarcerated in Alameda County Jails bringing this action on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of all adults who are now, or will be in the future, incaracerated in Alameda County Jails.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 12/21/2018
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)
  Federal Class Action Over Alameda
rbgg.com
Date: Apr. 22, 2020
By: Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:18-cv-07677 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0130-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0130-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 64] (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0130-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cousins, Nathanael M. (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-0002 | JC-CA-0130-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Rekha Elaine (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Bornstein, Jeffrey L (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-0001 | JC-CA-0130-9000
Cabrera, Hugo Dario (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Galvan, Ernest (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Janssen, Kara J. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Mello, Paul Brian (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Peters, Temitayo O. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Thomas, Gregory B. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Wolff, Samantha D. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Other Lawyers Huang, Yolanda (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000
Lee, Jonathan Unruh (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0130-9000

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