University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Gates v. Deukmejian PC-CA-0004
Docket / Court 2:87-cv-01636-LKK-JFM ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection California's Prisoners' Rights Bar article
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
On November 20, 1987, prisoners incarcerated at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville (CMF) and at the Northern Reception Center (NRC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against CMF, NRC and the State of California in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of ... read more >
On November 20, 1987, prisoners incarcerated at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville (CMF) and at the Northern Reception Center (NRC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against CMF, NRC and the State of California in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prison Law Office, the American Civil Liberties Union, and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging constitutionally deficient medical and psychiatric care at CMF and NRC. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of confinement, including overcrowding and lack of wheelchair access, were unconstitutional, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.

A two month trial began on September 11, 1989. On October 24, 1989, the United States filed a complaint in intervention, alleging many of the same deficiencies. And, in November, the parties began serious settlement negotiations. The negotiations resulted in a consent decree in which the defendants agreed to make many changes in the care and treatment of prisoners, including the AIDS subclass, without admission of wrongdoing or a court determination that changes were legally required. Specifically, the consent decree contained provisions respecting medical care issues, medical disability issues, mental health issues, AIDS, and general conditions issues including, among other things, law library access, housing assignments, sanitation, staffing, and exercise and emergency procedures. The consent decree also provided for its implementation. The Court approved the decree in Jan. 1990, and awarded the plaintiffs significant attorneys' fees. The defendants appealed the fee award.

On October 6, 1992, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Herbert Young Cho Choy) affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court's attorneys' fees award. Gates v. Deukmejian, 977 F.2d 1300 (9th Cir. 1992). The Court held that certain methods the District Court used to calculate attorneys' fees constituted an abuse of discretion. On March 2, 1993, the Court amended on denial of rehearing. Gates v. Deukmejian, 987 F.2d 1392 (9th Cir. 1993).

After the defendants appealed the District Court's order interpreting the consent decree, and the plaintiffs cross-appealed, on November 4, 1994, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Procter Hug, Jr.) affirmed in part and reversed in part. Gates v. Rowland, 39 F.3d 1440 (9th Cir. 1994). Specifically, the Court held that staffing adequacy should be determined from a correctional perspective, that denying HIV+ inmates access to food service jobs did not violate the Rehabilitation Act, and that the District Court's award of attorneys' fees was not an abuse of discretion.

On August 3, 1995, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Hug) held that the District Court had jurisdiction to issue various enforcement orders, did not abuse its discretion with respect to medical enforcement orders, and was warranted in granting attorneys' fees; however, the Court held that the District Court did abuse its discretion with respect to its rejection of the use of gun to prevent imminent substantial property damages. Gates v. Gomez, 60 F.3d 525 (9th Cir. 1995).

On April 8, 1996, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Mary M. Schroeder) affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court's award of attorneys' fees. Gates v. Shinn, 82 F.3d 422 (9th Cir. 1996).

On July 22, 1996, the District Court (Judge Karlton) denied the defendants' motion to terminate relief the Court had previously ordered.

After the defendants appealed the District Court's entrance of a civil contempt order against them for failing to provide sufficient medical evaluation and treatment for all inmates, on October 16, 1996, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Kleinfeld) vacated and remanded, finding that the consent decree was too vague with respect to the appropriate level of treatment to warrant a contempt order. Gates v. Shinn, 98 F.3d 463 (9th Cir. 1996).

As described in Coleman v. Schwarzenegger, 2007 WL 2695344 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2007), in December 1998, the parties entered a stipulation to dismiss this action, and to transition remaining issues into Coleman v. Wilson, PC-CA-0002 in this Clearinghouse. See Stipulation and Order Amending Plaintiff Class and Application of Remedy in Coleman, filed December 24, 1998.

Josh Altman - 11/04/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Crowding / caseload
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) California Medical Facility at Vacaville
Northern Reception Center
State of California
Plaintiff Description Citizens of the United States presently confined at CMF and at NRC.
Indexed Lawyer 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 Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1989 - 1998
Filed 11/20/1987
Case Closing Year 1998
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-CA-0013 : U.S. v. California (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0002 : Coleman v. Brown (E.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

2:87-cv-01636 (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/1999
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Complaint - Class Action
PC-CA-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/05/1988
Order (1988 WL 92568 / 1988 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 9111) (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0004-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/27/1988
Complaint in Intervention of Plaintiffs in Gates v. Deukmejian, in U.S. v. California
PC-CA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/24/1989
Notice of Settlement
PC-CA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/1989
Consent Decree (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/08/1989
Opinion (977 F.2d 1300)
PC-CA-0004-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/11/1992
Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion (987 F.2d 1392)
PC-CA-0004-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/02/1993
Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion (39 F.3d 1439)
PC-CA-0004-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/04/1994
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (98 F.3d 463)
PC-CA-0004-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/14/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion (60 F.3d 525)
PC-CA-0004-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/03/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum (82 F.3d 422)
PC-CA-0004-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/14/1996
Order (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/1996
show all people docs
Judges Choy, Herbert Young Cho (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0010 | PC-CA-0004-0011
Farris, Joseph Jerome (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0011 | PC-CA-0004-0014
Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (D. Or., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Hug, Procter Ralph Jr. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-0013
Karlton, Lawrence K. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0007 | PC-CA-0004-0016 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (D. Alaska, Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Kozinski, Alex (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Moulds, John F. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
Nelson, Dorothy Wright (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Rymer, Pamela Ann (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bien, Michael W. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0009 | PC-CA-0004-0013 | PC-CA-0004-0014
Coles, Matthew A. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0009 | PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Di Donato, Paul A. (California) show/hide docs
George, Warren E. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0002 | PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0009 | PC-CA-0004-0016 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Greco, Cynthia Jo (California) show/hide docs
Magorian, Christopher C. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0009 | PC-CA-0004-0016
Miller, Samuel R. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0010 | PC-CA-0004-0011
Rosen, Sanford Jay (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0010 | PC-CA-0004-0011 | PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-0013 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0009 | PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ching, James (California) show/hide docs
Crown, Allen Robert (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-0013 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Cuneo, James B. (California) show/hide docs
Donhoff, John G. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0010 | PC-CA-0004-0011
Flynn, James Edmund (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0012 | PC-CA-0004-0013 | PC-CA-0004-0016 | PC-CA-0004-9000
Iglehart, Richard B. (California) show/hide docs
Murphy, Millard (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0016
Santoki, Michael Allen (California) show/hide docs
Siggins, Peter J. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0013 | PC-CA-0004-0014
Van de Kamp, John K. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0004-0003 | PC-CA-0004-0016
White, Steve (California) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Hansen, Ann M. (California) show/hide docs

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