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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McNeil v. Community Probation Services CJ-TN-0012
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-00033 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
On April 23, 2018, five residents of Tennessee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs sued the Tennessee Correctional Services, and two for-profit probation companies, Community Probation Services (CPS) and Progressive Sentencing, ... read more >
On April 23, 2018, five residents of Tennessee filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs sued the Tennessee Correctional Services, and two for-profit probation companies, Community Probation Services (CPS) and Progressive Sentencing, Inc. (PSI), all under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the Civil Rights Corps, sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr.

The plaintiffs claimed that the goal of CPS and PSI was to maximize their own profits by adding their own fees and surcharges on top of those court debts they were tasked with collecting and continuing to supervise the collection of even greater amounts of money from probationers who could not afford to pay their debts. According to the plaintiffs, as a result of this extortionate enterprise, individuals who were supervised by the companies had lost homes, jobs, and personal belongings, suffered severe medical problems; they had gone without food, clothing, and medicine for themselves and their children just to instead pay the escalating supervision fees that the companies demanded under threat of arrest and jailing. The plaintiffs claimed that in doing so, the defendants had violated RICO and the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

On the same day as filing the complaint, the plaintiffs moved to certify two classes, a class for equitable relief encompassing “[a]ll persons who, at any time since April 23, 2014, (1) have incurred, or will incur, court-imposed financial obligations arising from a traffic or misdemeanor case in Giles County General Sessions or Circuit Court; and (2) are currently being supervised, or will be supervised, on probation in that case by any of the defendants” and a seperate damages class under the same definition.

The initial case management conference is set for October 25, 2018, and the case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 06/13/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bail/Bond
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Placement in detention facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
Defendant(s) Community Probation Services, LLC
Progressive Sentencing, Inc.
Tennessee Correctional Services, LLC
Plaintiff Description All persons who, at any time since April 23, 2014, (1) have incurred court-imposed financial obligations arising from a traffic or misdemeanor case in Giles County General Sessions or Circuit Court; and (2) have been assigned to be supervised on probation in that case by any of the defendants.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Corps
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 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-33 (M.D. Tenn.)
CJ-TN-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-TN-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Crenshaw, Waverly David Jr. (M.D. Tenn.)
CJ-TN-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Badlani, Chirag (Illinois)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Halperin, Eric I. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Mothershead, Kyle F. (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Rossi, Elizabeth Anne (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Schwartz, Kate E. (Illinois)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Wang, Jonas (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0012-0001 | CJ-TN-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Crane, Cassandra M (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0012-9000
McMillan, Brandt M (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0012-9000
Williams, John Christopher (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0012-9000
Williams, Robyn Beale (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0012-9000

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