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Case Name Mays v. County of Sacramento JC-CA-0134
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-02081 ( E.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 2:18-at-01259  [ 18-1259 ]  Eastern District of CA (U.S.)
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Prison Law Office
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This was a preexisting lawsuit addressing conditions of confinement in the Sacramento County Jail. On March 18, 2020, class counsel wrote the county to urge significant responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter requested population reductions and a variety of other steps ( ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This was a preexisting lawsuit addressing conditions of confinement in the Sacramento County Jail. On March 18, 2020, class counsel wrote the county to urge significant responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter requested population reductions and a variety of other steps (increasing education, access to cleaning supplies, free communications methods, and the like). On June 24, the parties reported that while on-site monitoring was feasible, some court experts who resided out of state indicated that they may be unable to travel to the Jail depending on the circumstances of COVID-19. The parties jointly sought modification of the terms of the consent decree and stipulated to remote access of records, virtual tour and timeline modifications. The court agreed to ongoing modifications.


On July 31, 2018, prisoners in the County of Sacramento jail system, with the assistance of counsel from Disability Rights California, Prison Law Office, and Cooley LLP, filed this suit against the County of Sacramento. The plaintiffs alleged a series of problems with the County of Sacramento Jail system, including understaffing, prolonged and harmful isolation, lack of minimally adequate mental health care, lack of minimally adequate medical care, and discrimination on the basis of disability. The plaintiffs claimed that these violate the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, cruel and unusual conditions under the Fourteenth Amendment, procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Americans' with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and California state law. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and attorneys' fees.

The case was randomly assigned to Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman, however, the plaintiffs declined to consent to a Magistrate Judge and requested a random assignment to a United States District Judge. The case was then assigned to both District Judge Troy L. Nunley and Magistrate Judge Newman on September 4, 2018.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the lack of staffing led to problems with cleanliness, transportation, and security. The plaintiffs claimed that the County of Sacramento was aware of these problems because they had been notified by both internal and external reports. The plaintiffs also alleged that people were kept in cells for at least 23 1/2 hours per day in solitary confinement (called "total separation" or "T-Sep). Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed that prisoners were placed in solitary confinement for no reason—even those with intellectual disabilities or suicidal prisoners were regularly placed in solitary confinement. The County of Sacramento jails did not meet minimally adequate mental health care standards according to the plaintiffs, as evidenced by the inadequate screening at intake, failure to create treatment plans, and lack of staff. The plaintiffs also noted that the rate of suicide deaths at defendant's jails was twice the national average.

The plaintiffs additionally took issue with medical screenings, which were conducted in crowded intake areas that compromised the plaintiffs' privacy. Moreover, patients would not be seen for multiple issues at once and prisoners who are unable to fill out medical requests on their own were left without care. Finally, the plaintiffs claimed that prisoners with disabilities were discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities. The plaintiffs alleged that defendant's jails failed to identify or track persons with disabilities and provide people with necessary walking aids. The main jail housing was not ADA accessible, which placed inmates with disabilities in separate housing simply because of their disability. They further claimed that this denied them access to the same programming.

On October 18, 2018, the parties jointly moved for class certification. On December 28, 2018, the court certified the class of "all people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in Sacramento County jails." The court also certified a subclass of "all qualified individuals with disabilities [...] who are, or will be in the future, incarcerated in the Sacramento County jails."

On June 10, 2019, the parties submitted a joint notice of settlement in the form of a proposed Consent Decree, which involved a Remedial Plan requiring the County to expand its mental health programs and services, provide constitutionally-adequate medical care, provide additional safeguards to reduce suicides by people in custody, identify people with disabilities and ensure that they receive appropriate accommodations, and expand mental health input into the jail's disciplinary and use of force practices. Under the proposed Consent Decree, the Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the Consent Decree and the agreement would last for six years from the date it is entered by the court.

On August 13, 2019, Judge Nunley issued an order preliminarily approving the Consent Decree and finding the Consent Decree met the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 3262(a)(1), the Prison Litigation Reform Act. 2019 WL 3804192. Judge Nunley also laid out a schedule for posting the Notice of Class Action Settlement and set a fairness hearing for December 5, 2019.

On September 4, 2019, Judge Nunley released an order regarding the revised Notice of Class Action settlement, which was revised to note that plaintiffs asked for $2.1 million in attorney's fees and an annual cap of $250,000 per year to monitor compliance with the Consent Decree.

On Nov 12, 2019, the plaintiffs and defendants sought final approval of the Consent Decree and Magistrate Judge Newman recommended it for approval on December 9. 2019 WL 6696667. The Consent Decree was finally approved on January 8, 2020, with the $2.1 million in attorney fees to be paid in two installments of $1.05 million, dated January 31 and July 31, 2020. 2019 WL 6696668.

On March 4, the parties agreed on three court experts, each specializing in the field of medical health, mental health, and suicide prevention. The experts were approved on March 10.

On March 18, 2020, class counsel wrote defendants an urgent letter about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the safety of jail inmates, urging development of a response plan and releases of as many inmates as possible:
We were pleased to see that the Sheriff’s Department received authorization from the Sacramento Superior Court to grant accelerated release of prisoners, up to thirty days early on a person’s sentence, effective through May 31, 2020. . . . We strongly encourage the County to explore and implement other mechanisms to safely reduce the jail population, including through (1) a broader early release order, (2) work release arrangements . . . and (3) expanded pretrial release.


In light of the pandemic, the parties stipulated to the postponement of all scheduled site visits by the Court Experts and Plaintiffs’ counsel and sought extension of the deadlines for the 180-Day Reports by the Court Experts. Instead, the parties requested leave to file a status report on or before June 24, 2020, providing further information to the Court about the status of their monitoring and proposing a modification to deadlines described in the Consent Decree. The parties also agreed that the compliance with the provisions of the Remedial Plan in the Consent Decree had not been reached. They told the court that they continued to work collaboratively to review and revise the jail’s operational policies to reflect the requirements of the Remedial Plan.

On April 30, the court granted the request and extended the deadline.

The parties were ordered to submit a status report about the status of monitoring compliance with the Consent Decree and proposing a modification to the reporting deadlines.

On June 24, the parties reported that while on-site monitoring was feasible, some court experts who reside out of state indicated that they may be unable to travel to the jail depending on the circumstances of COVID-19. The parties jointly sought modification of the order and stipulated to remote access of records, a virtual tour, and timeline modifications. Two days later, the court agreed to the modifications.

On September 3, the court received seven letters from individuals, claiming that they have been housed in solitary confinement at the Sacramento County Main Jail for periods ranging from 10.5 to 22 months, allegedly violating the consent decree.

On October 7, the court adopted further modifications to the reporting timeline after one court expert resigned. The first report is due January 20, 2021. On November 16, the court received a letter from five individuals who claimed that since August, despite filing grievances and raising issues with various authorities, they have been held in restrictive housing. The court directed class counsel to respond.

The case is ongoing.

Cianan Lesley - 02/07/2019
Caitlin Kierum - 10/27/2019
Averyn Lee - 09/25/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/29/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Training
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Counseling
Failure to train
Reasonable Accommodations
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Requested
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Skin Infections
Suicide prevention
Mental Disability
Depression
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 Sacramento
Plaintiff Description Relevant class are all people who are now, or in the future will be, incarcerated in Sacramento County jails" and "all qualified individuals with disabilities [...] who are, or will be in the future, incarcerated in the Sacramento County jails."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Prison Law Office
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2020 - 2026
Filed 07/31/2018
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)
  Mays v. County of Sacramento
disabilityrightsca.org
Date: 07/31/2018
By: Disability Rights California
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Cal. 2:18-cv-2081
JC-CA-0134-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Cal.
Report on Inspection of the Sacramento County Jail (Conducted April 13-14, 2015) [ECF# 1-2]
JC-CA-0134-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/04/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
E.D. Cal.
Sacramento County Jail Mentally Ill Prisoners and the Use of Segregation: Recommendations for Policy, Practice and Resources [ECF# 1-2]
JC-CA-0134-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Evaluation of Mental Health Services - Sacramento County Jails [ECF# 1-3]
JC-CA-0134-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Report on Suicide Prevention Practices within the Sacramento County Jail System [ECF# 1-4]
JC-CA-0134-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Exhibit E of Complaint: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Correctional Services Americans with Disabilities Act Assessment (ADA) [ECF# 1-5]
JC-CA-0134-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Evaluation of the Sacramento County Jail Inmate Classification and T-SEP Systems [ECF# 1-6]
JC-CA-0134-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0134-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Order [ECF# 49]
JC-CA-0134-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Class Action [Proposed] Consent Decree [ECF# 85-1]
JC-CA-0134-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Exhibit A Remedial Plan [ECF# 85-1]
JC-CA-0134-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Exhibit A-1 ADA Compliance Remedial Plan [ECF# 85-1]
JC-CA-0134-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Exhibit A-2 Mental Health Treatment Overview of Sacramento County Jail Non-Acute-Mental Health Programs/Services [ECF# 85-1]
JC-CA-0134-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Exhibit B Duties of Rule 706 Experts [ECF# 85-1]
JC-CA-0134-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Class Action Order Granting Approval for Preliminary Approval of Consent Decree and Class Action [ECF# 88] (2019 WL 3804192)
JC-CA-0134-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/13/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Notice: Class Action Settlement [ECF# 89-2]
JC-CA-0134-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/03/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Stipulation for Revised Class Notice and Order [ECF# 90]
JC-CA-0134-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 102, 102-1]
JC-CA-0134-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Recommending Final Approval of Class Action Settlement be Adopted [ECF# 104]
JC-CA-0134-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 110]
JC-CA-0134-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses [ECF# 111]
JC-CA-0134-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Order on Appointment of Court Experts [ECF# 117]
JC-CA-0134-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
not recorded
Necessary Actions at County Jail for COVID-19 Pandemic
JC-CA-0134-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/18/2020
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
E.D. Cal.
Class Action Stipulation and Proposed Order [ECF# 118, 118-1]
JC-CA-0134-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Class Action Joint Status Report [ECF# 120, 120-1 & 120-2]
JC-CA-0134-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Class Action Order [ECF# 121]
JC-CA-0134-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Class Action Order [ECF# 128]
JC-CA-0134-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Newman, Kendall J (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0003 | JC-CA-0134-0006 | JC-CA-0134-0020 | JC-CA-0134-0023 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-0026 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Nunley, Troy Lynne (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0002 | JC-CA-0134-0004 | JC-CA-0134-0021 | JC-CA-0134-0022 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fischer, Aaron Joseph (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0001 | JC-CA-0134-0003 | JC-CA-0134-0006 | JC-CA-0134-0013 | JC-CA-0134-0018 | JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Hadreas, Anne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Hart, Sophie Jedeikin (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Litton, Addison Mills (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Mendelson, Margot Knight (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0001 | JC-CA-0134-0003 | JC-CA-0134-0006 | JC-CA-0134-0013 | JC-CA-0134-0018 | JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Querubin, Kathlyn Anne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-9000
Ressl−Moyer, Tifanei (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-9000
Santamaria, Jessica Valenzuela (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0003 | JC-CA-0134-0006 | JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Zambarda, Mark Anthony (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-0025 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Heyer, Rick (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0018 | JC-CA-0134-0024 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Master, Todd Holton (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0006 | JC-CA-0134-0019 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Ridley, Shawn M (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-0003 | JC-CA-0134-9000
Travis, Lisa Ann (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0134-9000

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