University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Vanke v. Block JC-CA-0010
Docket / Court 98-4111 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On July 1, 1998, pretrial detainees filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the Los Angeles County Sheriff and the County of Los Angeles claiming that the county maintained an unconstitutional policy of holding pretrial ... read more >
On July 1, 1998, pretrial detainees filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the Los Angeles County Sheriff and the County of Los Angeles claiming that the county maintained an unconstitutional policy of holding pretrial detainees who were eligible for release in order to check for warrants, wants, and holds. The court (Judge Dean D. Pregerson) certified the class and granted the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, finding that the county was not carrying out court-ordered releases of detainees for up to thirty-six hours in order to update their database reflecting holds and wants. Vanke v. Block, No. 98-4111, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23488 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 1998). The court found that this practice violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable seizure. The defendants were enjoined from holding individuals who had been acquitted of charges beyond the period of time necessary to perform the administrative functions required for release. On April 26, 2001, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion to make the injunction permanent because there had not yet been a judgment on the merits. The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and a permanent injunction. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the action was moot because of its compliance with the preliminary injunction. On February 26, 2002, the court (Judge Pregerson) granted defendants' motion and the action was dismissed as moot. The sheriff had adopted a new policy for processing court-ordered releases, which complied with the terms of the preliminary injunction and went even further in promoting the prompt release of detainees.

The plaintiffs moved for attorney's fees, which were granted by the district court (Judge Pregerson). Vanke v. Block, No. 98-4111, 2002 WL 1836305 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2002). Defendants appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judges Andrew Kleinfeld, Kim Wardlaw, and William Fletcher) held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) precluded attorney's fees. Vanke v. Block, 77 Fed.Appx. 948, 2003 WL 22331964 (9th Cir. Oct. 9, 2003). The court held that the PLRA requires that a prisoner prove an actual violation of rights to be entitled to fees. Because the case became moot before plaintiffs could prove a violation, they were not entitled to fees. On February 23, 2004, the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Vanke v. Baca, 540 U.S. 1181 (2004).

Angela Heverling - 02/13/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Over/Unlawful Detention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) LA County Sheriff's Dept.
Plaintiff Description Persons who (1) are charged with crimes, (2) held in County custody, (3) whose charges are dismissed, and (4) who at that moment have an immediate and unconditional right to be released from custody
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1998 - 2002
Filing Year 1998
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
98-cv-04111-DDP-SH (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2004
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [on motion for a preliminary injunction] (1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 23488) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0010-0005.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/05/1988
Source: LexisNexis
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Convert Preliminary Injunction into Permanent Injunction; Motions for Finding of Violation of Preliminary Injunction and for Contempt of Court for Violation of Injunction (4 Motions); and Motion to Establish Pro... [ECF# 58] (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Award of Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1988 (2002 WL 1836305 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 26415) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0010-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/08/2002
Memorandum (77 Fed.Appx. 948)
JC-CA-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/09/2003
Memorandum Decision (540 U.S. 1181)
JC-CA-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/23/2004
Source: Westlaw
Judges Fletcher, William A. (Ninth Circuit)
Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (D. Alaska, Ninth Circuit)
Pregerson, Dean D. (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0010-0001 | JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bloomfield, Kathryn S. (California)
Millard, Richard H. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Reichmann, Joseph (California)
Yagman, Stephen (California)
JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Yagman, Marion R. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Michael D. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Lawrence, David D. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
MacLatchie, Scott D. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000
Miller, Louis R. (California)
Riley, Sean (California)
Warren, Jeremy B. (California)
JC-CA-0010-0003 | JC-CA-0010-0005 | JC-CA-0010-9000

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