University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Gasca v. Precythe CJ-MO-0022
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-04149 ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On August 14, 2017, parolees in custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed this class action in the United States District Court of the Western District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued MDOC under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the MacArthur Justice Center in ... read more >
On August 14, 2017, parolees in custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed this class action in the United States District Court of the Western District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued MDOC under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the MacArthur Justice Center in St. Louis, sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees and costs, claiming violations of the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. The plaintiffs alleged that MDOC’s failure to sufficient educate parolees about their right to a hearing, failure to screen them quickly or thoroughly enough to determine if they qualify for a court-appointed attorney, and failure to provide other procedural rights during the parole revocation process was a violation of their right to Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment. The lead plaintiff in this class action was eight months pregnant when Missouri parole officials took her to jail for prematurely leaving her residential drug rehab program. Her parole officer led her to believe that it was in her best interest to voluntarily waive her rights to all formal hearings as a condition for early release. The plaintiff was not informed of her right to an attorney when she signed a waiver to her final revocation hearing and still believed that if she signed the waiver she would be released in time to deliver her baby outside of jail. That did not occur. The plaintiff was still in custody when she had her son and her parole matter was pending at the time the complaint was filed.

On September 18, 2017, the plaintiffs sought class certification of all parolees that faced or would face parole revocation hearings in Missouri. After discovering a new parolee to add to the class action, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on October 12, 2017.

The defendants’ moved to dismiss the amended complaint on October 26, 2017. The defendants alleged that the plaintiffs' claims were subject to dismissal because: (1) their claims were speculative; (2) the failure to provide counsel claim lacked standing because the defendants had no authority to appoint counsel for parolees; (3) all claims were barred by judicial immunity; (4) the claims for injunctive relief failed because there was an adequate remedy at law since direct review of the board orders may be reviewed; (5) according to Younger, absent extraordinary circumstance, it was against federal policy for the federal court to interfere with pending state judicial proceedings; (6) the Eleventh Amendment and Quasi-judicial immunity protected the defendants from damages claims; and (7) two of the defendants were no longer state officials.

On December 5, 2017, District Judge Stephen R. Bough denied the plaintiffs motion to certify class without prejudice. Judge Bough held that the plaintiffs did not properly display the commonality between the class members or show how the class members were based on the same legal or remedial theory. Shortly thereafter, on December 15, 2017, Judge Bough fully denied the defendant's’ motion to dismiss.

On February 23, 2019, a bench trial was set for April, 15, 2019 in front of Judge Bough. For the next several months, the parties engaged in discovery and on November 15, 2018, Judge Bough granted the parties joint motion to continue the trial date. The bench trial was rescheduled to November 18, 2019. On November 27, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a renewed motion to certify class. The defendants moved for the court to order the case to mediation and place a stay on all other deadlines pending mediation. On December 11, 2018, Judge Bough granted the defendants' motion to order the case to mediation and denied the motion to stay all other deadlines pending mediation.

The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on December 27, 2018. They alleged there was no genuine dispute on the material facts; thus, the undisputed facts proved the Defendants were not screening for or providing counsel in compliance with Gagnon (a Supreme Court case that held counsel should be presumptively provided in cases where the parolee has a timely and colorable claim of innocence, or substantial reasons exist which mitigate against revocation) and failed to meet other minimal due process requirements set forth in prior Supreme Court holdings.

Judge Bough granted the plaintiffs’ renewed motion for class certification on January 4, 2019. The class was defined as: "All adult parolees in the state of Missouri who currently face, or who in the future will face, parole revocation proceedings." 2019 WL 112789.

Later in January, both parties participated in mediation and the defendants sought delayed entry from the Court for judgment on the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment until February 27, 2019. The defendants admitted the policies at the time the plaintiffs filed their complaint did not satisfy Gagnon, and stated they had since taken corrective measures to remedy these shortcomings. The defendants requested the order on the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment be delayed, so that the parties could reach further progress in a settlement. The Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on February 27, 2019. It is unclear whether a formal settlement agreement has been reached or what type of remedy has been provided for the class action members.

On May 15, 2019, a parolee moved pro se to join the class action and proceed separately in order to receive individual relief. Litigation is ongoing and the case remains open.

Kimberly Goshey - 06/11/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Parole grant/revocation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Missouri
Plaintiff Description All adult parolees in the state of Missouri who currently face, or who in the future will face, parole revocation proceedings.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Want to Shrink the Prison Population? Look at Parole.
Date: Feb. 11, 2019
By: Beth Schwartzapfel (The Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:17-cv-04149 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-MO-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 23]
CJ-MO-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 42] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 50] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 132] (2019 WL 112789) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 146] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bough, Stephen Rogers (W.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0003 | CJ-MO-0022-0004 | CJ-MO-0022-0005 | CJ-MO-0022-0006 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bedi, Sheila A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Bowman, Locke E. III (Illinois) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Breihan, Amy Elizabeth (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-0002 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Crane, Megan G (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Quinn, Mae C. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0002 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Elsbury, Laura E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Hawke, Stephen David (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Moore, Justin (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Quinlan, Michael D. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Shull, Doug (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -