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Case Name Alhman v. Barnes JC-CA-0143
Docket / Court 8:20-cv-00835 ( C.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 20-55568  [ 20-55568 ]  Federal Court of Appeals
20-55668  [ 20-55668 ]  Federal Court of Appeals
20-A19  [ 20- ]  U.S. Supreme Court
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
This putative class-action lawsuit was filed on April 30, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit was filed by several inmates in Orange County Jail. The suit arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world in early 2020. As the virus raged ... read more >
This putative class-action lawsuit was filed on April 30, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit was filed by several inmates in Orange County Jail. The suit arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world in early 2020. As the virus raged throughout the country, it became particularly problematic in jails and prison systems. This lawsuit alleged that Orange County Jail's management of the virus was wholly inadequate and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The suit alleged that requisite social distancing was not possible due to the high density of inmates in the jail, that the masks were simply pieces of fabric (and were not always used by guards), and that isolation policies were ineffective. The plaintiffs were medically vulnerable inmates in Orange County Jail and they were represented by ACLU National, ACLU Fund of Southern California, and ACLU Disabilities Rights Program attorneys, the UC Irvine Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, and private counsel. They sued Orange County and the Sheriff of Orange County.

The complaint alleged that defendants' failure to adequately mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the jail system represented violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. They argued that the conditions represented an unconstitutional punishment and unconstitutional confinement in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees that the state provide for reasonable health and safety of inmates. As for the Eighth Amendment, they argued that the lack of precautions constituted deliberate indifference to the health of the inmates as to be cruel and unusual punishment. The plaintiffs also argued that the failure to protect medically vulnerable inmates (particularly those with co-morbidities), constituted discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs sought class certification, a writ of habeas corpus to identify all members of a Medically-Vulnerable Subclass and Disability Subclass and grant them release, injunctive relief in the form of a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, or habeas corpus that would mitigate the spread of COVID-19, declaratory relief, and attorneys' fees and costs.

On May 11, the plaintiffs submitted an application for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction and a motion for provisional class certification. On May 26, the court granted the motion for provisional class-certification and granted in part and denied in part the application for a temporary restraining order. The grant of provisional class status created two classes, a Pre-Trial Class and a Post-Conviction Class. Under each of those were Disability Subclasses and Medically-Vulnerable Subclasses. The partial grant of the TRO mandated defendants to follow CDC social distancing guidelines, expand testing, and enhance sanitation efforts in the jails. It did not grant release to any prisoners, though. 2020 WL 2754938.

Defendants appealed this decision two days later and applied to stay the case pending a decision from the 9th Circuit. In both the district court and the 9th Circuit, the defendants filed emergency motions to stay the lower court decision, but the district court denied this motion on June 2. 2020 WL 4039073. The 9th Circuit then denied this motion on June 17. However, they remanded the case to the district court to gauge whether any changed circumstances might require alterations to the TRO. 2020 WL 3547960.

The defendants then filed an ex parte application with the district court to dissolve the TRO, which the district court denied yet again in late June. The defendants tried to argue that the declining rate of COVID-19 in the Orange County Jail represented a significant enough change to warrant dissolution of the preliminary injunction. On July 1, the defendants appealed once more to the 9th Circuit. And, once again, the 9th Circuit denied the motion on July 3.

Then on July 21, the defendants brought the case to the Supreme Court, submitting an emergency application for stay of injunctive relief. In a 5-4 decision, the Court granted the stay on August 5. There was no majority, opinion, but Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent arguing that, even if the majority would have granted the stay at the district court, it was not so clearly wrong as to warrant granting certiorari. 2020 WL 4499350.

The case is ongoing as of August 7, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 08/07/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Orange County
Orange County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Inmates at Orange County Jail in California
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 04/30/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
8:20-cv-00835 (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0143-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/31/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
20A19 (U.S. Supreme Court)
JC-CA-0143-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
20-55668 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
JC-CA-0143-9003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
20-55568 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
JC-CA-0143-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0143-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 41-1 & 41-2]
JC-CA-0143-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Declaration of Dr. Joe Goldenson in Support of Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 63]
JC-CA-0143-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Civil Minutes - General [ECF# 65]
JC-CA-0143-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Civil Minutes - General [ECF# 72]
JC-CA-0143-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 79]
JC-CA-0143-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 19] (2020 WL 3547960)
JC-CA-0143-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Civil Minutes - General [ECF# 93]
JC-CA-0143-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion Under Circuit Rule 27-3 for Stay of Injunction [Ct. of App. ECF# 2]
JC-CA-0143-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order
JC-CA-0143-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2020
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Emergency Application for Stay of Injunctive Relief Pending Appeal of Denial of Stay Application in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Relief Requested by Friday, July 24, 2020
JC-CA-0143-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Response in Opposition to Emergency Application for Stay
JC-CA-0143-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/30/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
Applicants' Reply in Support of Emergency Application for Stay of Injunctive Relief Pending Appeal of Denial of Stay Application in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
JC-CA-0143-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
On Application for Stay (2019 WL 4499350)
JC-CA-0143-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
show all people docs
Judges Bernal, Jesus Gilberto (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-9001
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (First Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0014
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0014
Graber, Susan (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0008 | JC-CA-0143-0010
Kagan, Elena (SCOTUS) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0014 | JC-CA-0143-9001
Nelson, Douglas W Court not on record show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0008 | JC-CA-0143-0010
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0014 | JC-CA-0143-9001
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0008 | JC-CA-0143-0010
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benjamin, Brittany L (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Brennan-Krohn, Zoe (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Chung, Eric (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0012
Cole, David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0012
Cook, Marta P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-9000
Eliasberg, Peter J. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Ellis, Cristina Becker (North Carolina) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Ensign, Olivia Harper (North Carolina) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Grigsby, Stacey Kamya (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Hinger, Sarah (New York) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Hoffman, Paul L. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Kamin, Mitchell A. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Lewis, Aaron M. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Spera, Clara Simone (New York) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Stubbs, Cassandra (North Carolina) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Takei, Carl (New York) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Trigg, Amia L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Trivedi, Somil Bharat (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000
Washington, John Clay (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0001 | JC-CA-0143-0002 | JC-CA-0143-0007 | JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Winkelman, Steven (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0012
Zionts, David M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0012 | JC-CA-0143-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Dunn, Kevin D (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0009 | JC-CA-0143-0011 | JC-CA-0143-0013 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9001 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Knapp, Laura D (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0009 | JC-CA-0143-0011 | JC-CA-0143-0013 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Leeds, Rebecca Sorgen (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0009 | JC-CA-0143-0011 | JC-CA-0143-0013 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003
Watson, Kayla Nicole (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0143-0009 | JC-CA-0143-0011 | JC-CA-0143-0013 | JC-CA-0143-9000 | JC-CA-0143-9002 | JC-CA-0143-9003

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