University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cedillo v. Transcor America LLC PC-TN-0016
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-00869 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On April 8, 2013, pretrial detainees and unnamed members of the certified class in Schilling v. TransCor America, LLC, who did not settle with its named class members, filed this complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Schilling is also available in this ... read more >
On April 8, 2013, pretrial detainees and unnamed members of the certified class in Schilling v. TransCor America, LLC, who did not settle with its named class members, filed this complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Schilling is also available in this Clearinghouse. The plaintiffs sued TransCor and Does 1-100 (unnamed TransCor employees) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. TransCor is a company owned by Corrections Corporation of America which transports pretrial detainees and prisoners throughout the United States for federal, state, and local governments. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, had been transported by TransCor on behalf or local and/or state governments. The plaintiffs claimed that TransCor transported them sitting in vehicles, in full restraints including handcuffs, leg irons, waist chains, black boxes and connector chains for more that 59, 67, or 95 continuous hours, such that they were unable to sit down, stretch their limbs, or sleep. They were also deprived of exercise, hygiene, and medical care. The plaintiffs claimed that these conditions violated their Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from unlawful conditions of confinement, use of excessive force, and cruel and unusual punishment, as well as other civil rights under the California Bane Civil Rights Act. They requested declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the plaintiff from transporting people in this way, certification as a class, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

On May 24, 2013, Judge Susan Illston issued a notice that this suit was related to the Schilling case and would be reassigned to her. TransCor moved for a venue transfer to the Middle District of Tennessee. On August 27, 2013, Judge Illston granted that motion finding that while either venue was generally proper, Tennessee was more convenient as the location of TransCor's headquarters, non-party witnesses, and relevant documents.

This case was transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee on August 29, 2013 and assigned to Judge Kevin H. Sharp. On October 31, 2013, TransCor filed a memorandum in support of its motion for judgment on the pleadings. 2013 WL 11429181. They argued that it would be inefficient for the court to hear this claim because it was brought by members of the Cedillo class, whose claim had arguably already been resolved to an extent, about issues that could or should have been brought in that case. They also argued that some of the individual class members' claims should be dismissed because they were barred by one-year statute of limitations applicable to federal civil rights claims heard in courts in Tennessee. The plaintiffs filed their response in opposition to the motion in November 2013.

Almost two years later, on September 16, 2015, Judge Sharp granted in part and denied in part TransCor's motion for judgment on the pleadings. He dismissed the class claims, finding that they had already been litigated in the Schilling case in Judge Illston's partial grant for summary judgment. ("[A]llowing Plaintiffs a second bite at the apple would be inappropriate.") 2012 WL 3257659. Specifically, he reiterated Judge Illston's holding that while on a class-wide basis, the fact that class members were transported, restrained, and denied overnight sleep in a bed for 24 hours did not amount to a constitutional violation, she found that individual prisoners who were detained for longer periods or in different conditions with specific injuries could still seek relief. Judge Sharp held that that judgment was binding on all class members, even though the Schilling class was so broadly defined (detained for over 24 hours) so as to preclude the sub-classes in this litigation (detained for over 59, 67, or 95 hours) from obtaining relief as a class. With respect to the statute of limitations issue, he found that the applicable statute of limitations for each plaintiff’s claim was the law of the state in which the plaintiff’s trip with TransCor terminated and that the clock on these limitations had paused or tolled with the Schilling litigation. Under this analysis, he determined that all of the individual plaintiff's claims were not time-barred except for one plaintiff.

Within a month of Judge Sharp's decision, that one plaintiff who had a time-barred claim appealed the court's dismissal of his individual claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On December 2, 2015, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the claim at his request.

On January 22, 2016, the parties informed the court that they were discussing a possible settlement. On March 2, 2016, they informed the court that these settlement discussions had not been fruitful and requested the assistance of a magistrate judge. They also discussed potential limits on discovery if the litigation continued and remained sharply divided on whether discovery should be allowed with respect to identifying Does 1 -100, TransCor employees who were responsible for the named plaintiffs' care.

On March 24, 2016, the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown. On March 31, 2016 and again on April 19, 2016, the parties held a conference with Judge Brown but were unable to come to an agreement. On June 9, 2016, Judge Brown issued a protective order to restrict information that pertained to specific business interests of TransCor. In June 2016, the parties began to share information with each other pursuant to their discovery agreement.

On January 10, 2017, the parties filed a notice of settlement with the court. The parties did not file any settlement documents with the court, but instead later asked Judge Sharp to dismiss the case with prejudice. On March 13, 2017, Judge Sharp dismissed the case and it is now closed.

Veronica Portillo Heap - 10/15/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Excessive force
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : physical
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Transcor America, LLC
Plaintiff Description Pre-trial detainees and prisoners transported by defendant, Transcor America, for periods over 59, 67, and 95 hours, in shackles and unable to stand up or sit down.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-CA-0051 : Schilling v. TransCor America LLC (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
3:13-cv-00869 (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-TN-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant Transcor's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [ECF# 55]
PC-TN-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 61] (131 F.Supp.3d 734) (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0016-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/16/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brown, Joe B. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
PC-TN-0016-9000
Sharp, Kevin Hunter (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0016-0003 | PC-TN-0016-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Johnston, Douglas S. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Merin, Mark E. (California)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California)
PC-TN-0016-0001 | PC-TN-0016-9000
Snell, Karen L. (California)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Callen, Jason (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Coble, Lauren Patten (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-0002
Fayard, Gregory T. (California)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Lewis, David C. (Arizona)
PC-TN-0016-0002 | PC-TN-0016-9000
Nguyen, Amy L. (Arizona)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Patten, Lauren (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Polly, Erin Palmer (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-0002 | PC-TN-0016-9000
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona)
PC-TN-0016-0002 | PC-TN-0016-9000
Vance, Natalie P. (California)
PC-TN-0016-9000
Welborn, Joseph F III (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0016-0002 | PC-TN-0016-9000

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