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Case Name Scholl v. Mnuchin PB-CA-0058
Docket / Court 4:20-cv-05309-PJH ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
Two incarcerated plaintiffs brought this class-action lawsuit seeking to obtain the benefits provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security (CARES) Act. The plaintiffs sought to represent a class all people incarcerated in the United States between March 27, 2020 until August 1, ... read more >
Two incarcerated plaintiffs brought this class-action lawsuit seeking to obtain the benefits provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security (CARES) Act. The plaintiffs sought to represent a class all people incarcerated in the United States between March 27, 2020 until August 1, 2020 (the date the complaint was filed) who was tax-eligible to receive the benefits. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants (the United States of America, the US Department of Treasury, the IRS, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue) refused to issue Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to incarcerated people as part of the CARES Act. Brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, the complaint contended that Congress did not exclude incarcerated people from receiving benefits through the CARES Act, and that the IRS did not have a reasonable basis to exclude incarcerated people from the EIP benefit program because they still have tax obligations while incarcerated. The plaintiffs sought attorneys' fees, declaratory judgment that the defendants lacked authority to withhold EIP benefits from incarcerated people, and injunctive relief ordering the defendants to automatically issue EIP benefits to entitled individuals in prison, and to reconsider any filed claim that was denied solely based on the claimant's incarcerated status. Three days after filing the complaint, the plaintiffs also moved for a class-certification and a preliminary injunction declaring the defendants' policy unlawful and ordering EIP benefits to be provided to eligible class members. The plaintiffs were represented by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Equal Justice Society. After being initially assigned to Judge Charles R. Breyer, the case was reassigned to Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton for all future proceedings.

Judge Hamilton permitted plaintiffs from Galvan v. Mnuchin, No. 1:20-cv-04511 (N.D. Ill.), to intervene, as those parties were seeking class certification of an identical class to the one at issue in this case. On September 24, 2020, Judge Hamilton granted the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction and their motion to certify class. 2020 WL 5702129. The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment five days later, but the defendants subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit on October 1 and requested that the district court proceedings be stayed during appeal (Docket No. 20-16915).

The case is ongoing as of October 8, 2020.

Justin Hill - 10/08/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury
U.S. Department of Treasury
U.S. Internal Revenue Service
United States of America
Plaintiff Description All United States citizens and legal permanent residents who are or were incarcerated (i.e., confined in a jail, prison, or other penal institution or correctional facility pursuant to their conviction of a criminal offense) in the United States, or have been held to have violated a condition of parole or probation imposed under federal or state law, at any time from March 27, 2020 to the August 1, 2020 and who are otherwise tax-eligible to receive the CARES Act benefits.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 08/01/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
4:20-cv-05309-PJH (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0058-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-CA-0058-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 50] (2020 WL 5702129) (N.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0058-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hamilton, Phyllis Jean (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0002 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alvernaz, Christina A (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Dafa, Jalle H (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Dermody, Kelly M. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Holder, Lisa (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001
Paterson, Eva Jefferson (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Pitoun, Christopher Robert (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-9000
Salahi, Yaman (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Tawatao, Rau Mona (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-0001 | PB-CA-0058-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Yost, Landon Monte (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-9000
Other Lawyers Castillo, Cynthia Alicia (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-9000
Skaff, Stephanie Powers (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0058-9000

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