Case: Serra v. Lappin

3:07-cv-01589 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: July 20, 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 20, 2007, former prison inmates filed a complaint against the United States Bureau of Prisons on behalf of a class of federal prisoners who earned wages for prison jobs. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Martin Jenkins (retired) alleged that the prison wages (as low as 19 cents per hour) violated the Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments and International Law. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief and an injunction ordering prison of…

On July 20, 2007, former prison inmates filed a complaint against the United States Bureau of Prisons on behalf of a class of federal prisoners who earned wages for prison jobs. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Martin Jenkins (retired) alleged that the prison wages (as low as 19 cents per hour) violated the Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments and International Law.

The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief and an injunction ordering prison officials to pay either $25 an hour, $500 per week, or "equitable remuneration" to working prisoners.. They also sought compensatory and punitive monetary damages, attorneys fees and costs, and treble damages for antitrust violations.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The District Court granted this motion in Serra v. Lappin et al, No.07-01589, 2008 WL 929525 (N.D. Cal. April 3, 2008). Specifically, the court held:

(1) Sovereign immunity ruled out monetary damages claims because the defendants were acting in their official capacities;

(2) Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) did not create a right to relief because the defendants were acting in their official capacities;

(3) The plaintiffs failed to present a cognizable Thirteenth Amendment claim because the amendment specifically allows involuntary servitude as part of incarceration for a crime;

(4) The Fifth Amendment protects only existing rights in life, liberty, and property. Because prisoners have no legal entitlement to payment for prison work, there was no interest at stake.

(5) The ICCPR was not a self-executing treaty and Congress had not enacted implementing legislation---thus federal courts lacked the power to enforce it; and

(6) The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for Prisoners was a "guidance document," not a treaty, and even if it were a treaty, it was not self-executing.

The Court of Appeals, in Serra v. Lappin et al, No. 08-15969, 2010 WL 1407795 (9th Cir. Apr. 9, 2010), affirmed the District Court's order of dismissal, with essentially the same reasoning but elaborating on a few issues:

(1) Federal courts may not apply the "customary law of nations" in the absence of a statute. The Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, which gives original jurisdiction to federal courts "of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States," did not apply because the plaintiffs were not "aliens."

(2) Regarding the Fifth Amendment claim, the court noted that the Plaintiffs may have had a claim if they argued that prison officials had deprived them of wages to which they were duly entitled under the federal prison wage system, but this was not the case.

The plaintiffs did not appeal to the Supreme Court. This case is closed.

Summary Authors

Eric Weiler (5/25/2010)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4166654/parties/serra-v-lappin/


Judge(s)

Clifton, Richard R. (Hawaii)

Jenkins, Martin J. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Murcko, John (California)

Perelson, Stephan Jay (California)

Serra, J. Tony (California)

Simpich, William Morris (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)

Katerberg, Robert J (District of Columbia)

Katsas, Gregory George (District of Columbia)

Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Clifton, Richard R. (Hawaii)

Jenkins, Martin J. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Murcko, John (California)

Perelson, Stephan Jay (California)

Serra, J. Tony (California)

Simpich, William Morris (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)

Katerberg, Robert J (District of Columbia)

Katsas, Gregory George (District of Columbia)

Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)

Raab, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Russoneillo, Joseph P. (California)

Schools, Scott N (South Carolina)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Garvey, Vincent M. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Serra v. Lappin et al

April 13, 2010 Docket

Docket - Court of Appeals

Serra v. Lappin et al

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

May 4, 2010 Docket
21

Complaint

Serra v. Lappin et al

July 20, 2007 Complaint
17-1

Memorandum In Support Of Moving Defendants' Motion To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction And Failure To State A Claim

Serra v Lappin et al

Oct. 15, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
21

First Amended Complaint

Serra v. Lappin et al

Oct. 29, 2007 Complaint
26

Plaintiffs' Opposition To Defendants' Motion To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Serra v Lappin et al

Jan. 24, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief
32

District Court Order Granting Defendant's Motion To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Serra v. Lappin et al

2008 WL 929525

April 3, 2008 Order/Opinion

Appellants' (Plaintiffs) Brief Re District Court's Order To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Serra v Lappin et al

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

July 25, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Appellees' (Defendants) Reply Brief Re District Court's Order To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Serra v. Lappin et al

Sept. 17, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Appellants' (Plaintiffs) Reply Brief Re District Court's Order To Dismiss For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Serra v. Lappin et al

Nov. 13, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4166654/serra-v-lappin/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT FOR CLASS ACTION; summons issued against Harley Lappin, B. G. Compton, Robert F. McFadden (Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 34611004356). Filed by J. Tony Serra. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/20/2007) (Entered: 03/22/2007)

March 20, 2007 PACER
2

ADR SCHEDULING ORDER: Case Management Statement due by 6/20/2007. Case Management Conference set for 6/27/2007 01:30 PM. (Attachments: # 1 EMC Standing Order# 2 Standing Order)(slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/20/2007) (Entered: 03/22/2007)

1 EMC Standing Order

View on PACER

2 Standing Order

View on PACER

March 20, 2007 PACER
3

CLERK'S NOTICE Case Management Conference reset for 8/22/2007 01:30 PM. Case Management Statement due by 8/15/2007. (bpf, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/15/2007) (Entered: 06/15/2007)

June 15, 2007 PACER
4

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT against Harley Lappin, B. G. Compton, Robert F. McFadden. Filed by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/20/2007) Additional attachment(s) added on 11/7/2007 (sv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 07/25/2007)

July 20, 2007 RECAP
5

Summons Returned Unexecuted by J. Tony Serra as to Harley Lappin, B. G. Compton, Robert F. McFadden. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/20/2007) (Entered: 07/25/2007)

July 20, 2007 PACER
6

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra (Murcko, John) (Filed on 8/15/2007) (Entered: 08/15/2007)

Aug. 15, 2007 PACER
7

Letter dated 8/20/07 from John Murcko and Joann Swanson re continuance of matter from 8/22/07 to 11/14/07. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/20/2007) (Entered: 08/21/2007)

Aug. 20, 2007 PACER
8

Order extending Case Management Conference. Case Management Statement due by 11/7/2007. Case Management Conference set for 11/14/2007 01:30 PM.. Signed by Judge Edward M. Chen on 8/21/07. (bpf, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/21/2007) (Entered: 08/21/2007)

Aug. 21, 2007 PACER
9

CONSENT to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra.. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 8/30/2007) (Entered: 08/30/2007)

Aug. 30, 2007 PACER
10

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra (Murcko, John) (Filed on 9/10/2007) (Entered: 09/10/2007)

Sept. 10, 2007 PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Robert J. Katerberg on Behalf of Defendants Harley Lappin and Robert F. McFadden in Their Official Capacities (Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 10/4/2007) (Entered: 10/04/2007)

Oct. 4, 2007 PACER
12

Declination to Proceed Before a U.S. Magistrate Judge by Harley Lappin, Robert F. McFadden. (Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 10/4/2007) (Entered: 10/04/2007)

Oct. 4, 2007 PACER
13

CLERK'S NOTICE of Impending Reassignment to U.S. District Judge (bpf, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/5/2007) (Entered: 10/05/2007)

Oct. 5, 2007 PACER
14

ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Judge Martin J. Jenkins for all further proceedings. Judge Edward M. Chen no longer assigned to the case.. Signed by Executive Committee on 10/12/07. (as, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/12/2007) (Entered: 10/12/2007)

Oct. 12, 2007 PACER
15

CLERK'S NOTICE - Case Management Conference set for 11/27/2007 AT 2:00 P.M. before the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins. (ls, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/15/2007) (Entered: 10/15/2007)

Oct. 15, 2007 PACER
16

NOTICE of Appearance by Robert J. Katerberg on Behalf of Defendant Robert E. McFadden in his Individual Capacity (Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 10/15/2007) (Entered: 10/15/2007)

Oct. 15, 2007 PACER
17

MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May Be Granted filed by Harley Lappin, Robert F. McFadden. Motion Hearing set for 11/20/2007 09:30 AM in Courtroom 11, 19th Floor, San Francisco. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Motion# 2 Proposed Order)(Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 10/15/2007) (Entered: 10/15/2007)

1 Memorandum in Support of Motion

View on PACER

2 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Oct. 15, 2007 PACER
18

Declaration of Robert J. Katerberg in Support of Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss filed byHarley Lappin, Robert F. McFadden. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Certification of Scope of Employment)(Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 10/15/2007) (Entered: 10/15/2007)

1 Exhibit Certification of Scope of Employment

View on PACER

Oct. 15, 2007 PACER
19

CLERK'S NOTICE to submit First amended Complaint by PDF (sv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/25/2007) (Entered: 10/25/2007)

Oct. 25, 2007 PACER
20

Proposed Order to Continue Motion to Dismiss and Case Management Conference by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 10/29/2007) (Entered: 10/29/2007)

Oct. 29, 2007 PACER
21

AMENDED COMPLAINT against all defendants. Filed byJeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 10/29/2007) (Entered: 10/29/2007)

Oct. 29, 2007 PACER
22

Proposed Order AMENDED by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 10/29/2007) (Entered: 10/29/2007)

Oct. 29, 2007 PACER
23

ORDER continuing the Initial Case Management Conference to 3/25/2008 02:00 PM and the Motion Hearing to 2/26/2008 09:30 AM in Courtroom 11, 19th Floor, San Francisco. Signed by Judge Martin J. Jenkins on 10/30/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/30/2007) (Entered: 10/30/2007)

Oct. 30, 2007 RECAP
24

Proposed Order re Briefing Schedule by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 10/31/2007) (Entered: 10/31/2007)

Oct. 31, 2007 PACER
25

STIPULATION AND ORDER continuing the briefing schedule. Signed by Judge Martin J. Jenkins on 11/01/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/5/2007) (Entered: 11/05/2007)

Nov. 5, 2007 RECAP
26

Memorandum in Opposition re 17 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May Be Granted filed byJeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. (Murcko, John) (Filed on 1/24/2008) (Entered: 01/24/2008)

Jan. 24, 2008 PACER
27

REPLY to Response to Motion re 17 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May Be Granted filed byHarley Lappin, Robert F. McFadden. (Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 2/1/2008) (Entered: 02/01/2008)

Feb. 1, 2008 PACER
28

Minute Entry: Motion Hearing held on 2/26/2008 before Martin J. Jenkins (Date Filed: 2/26/2008) re 17 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May Be Granted filed by Robert F. McFadden, Harley Lappin. (Court Reporter Lydia Zinn.) (mat, COURT STAFF) (Date Filed: 2/26/2008) (Entered: 02/26/2008)

Feb. 26, 2008 PACER
29

ADR Clerks Notice re: Non-Compliance with Court Order. (tjs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/5/2008) (Entered: 03/05/2008)

March 5, 2008 PACER
30

STIPULATION and Order to Continue Case Management Conference and Associated Deadlines by Harley Lappin, Robert F. McFadden. (Katerberg, Robert) (Filed on 3/6/2008) (Entered: 03/06/2008)

March 6, 2008 PACER
31

CLERK'S NOTICE Vacating Initial Case Management Conference. (mat, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2008) (Entered: 03/07/2008)

March 7, 2008 PACER
32

ORDER by Judge Martin J. Jenkins granting 17 Motion to Dismiss (mjjlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/3/2008) (Entered: 04/03/2008)

April 3, 2008 RECAP
33

JUDGMENT ***Civil Case Terminated. (mat, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/3/2008) (Entered: 04/04/2008)

April 3, 2008 PACER
34

NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 32 Order on Motion to Dismiss, 33 Judgment by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra. Filing fee $ 455, receipt number 34611018272. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/17/2008) (USCA Case No. 08-15969) (Entered: 04/18/2008)

April 17, 2008 PACER
35

DESIGNATION of Record on Appeal by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra re 34 Notice of Appeal (Murcko, John) (Filed on 4/25/2008) (Entered: 04/25/2008)

April 25, 2008 PACER
36

USCA Case Number 08-15969 for 34 Notice of Appeal. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/25/2008) (Entered: 04/29/2008)

April 25, 2008 PACER
37

TRANSCRIPT DESIGNATION by Jeanine Santiago, Victor Cordero, J. Tony Serra for proceedings held on 2/26/08 (C/R Lydia Zinn). (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/28/2008) (Entered: 04/29/2008)

April 28, 2008 PACER
38

Transcript of Proceedings held on 2/26/08, before Judge Jenkins (C/R: Lydia Zinn) (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/7/2008) (Entered: 05/08/2008)

May 7, 2008 PACER
39

Certificate of Record Mailed to USCA re 34 Notice of Appeal. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2008) (Entered: 11/04/2008)

Nov. 4, 2008 PACER
40

Receipt for Certificate of Record re 34 Notice of Appeal. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/10/2008) (Entered: 11/12/2008)

Nov. 10, 2008 PACER
41

USCA Opinion as to 34 Notice of Appeal filed by Jeanine Santiago, J. Tony Serra, Victor Cordero; affirmed. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2010) (Entered: 04/13/2010)

April 13, 2010 PACER
42

MANDATE of USCA as to 34 Notice of Appeal filed by Jeanine Santiago, J. Tony Serra, Victor Cordero. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/12/2010) (Entered: 05/12/2010)

May 12, 2010 PACER
43

CLERKS Letter Spreading Mandate to Counsel. (slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/12/2010) (Entered: 05/12/2010)

May 12, 2010 PACER

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 20, 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Class of federal prisoners who earned wages at prison jobs while incarcerated.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

U.S. Government - Federal Bureau of Prisons (Washington), Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Slavery/Involuntary servitude

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

Type of Facility:

Government-run