Case: Anderson v. Kern County

1:90-cv-00205 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Filed Date: April 9, 1990

Closed Date: Feb. 9, 1998

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Because this case predates PACER, the Clearinghouse has limited information on what occurred. On April 9, 1990, prisoners in the Kern County jail filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against the county. The plaintiffs, represented by private firms and the Prisoner Rights Union, filed the complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on violations of plaintiffs' rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The complaint revolved around allegedly inadequate condi…

Because this case predates PACER, the Clearinghouse has limited information on what occurred.

On April 9, 1990, prisoners in the Kern County jail filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against the county. The plaintiffs, represented by private firms and the Prisoner Rights Union, filed the complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on violations of plaintiffs' rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The complaint revolved around allegedly inadequate conditions in the jail. The plaintiffs claimed that overcrowding led to issues of inedible food, insufficient numbers of beds for prisoners, inadequate medical and mental health care, and other poor living conditions. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and attorney’s fees from the county. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Robert E. Coyle.

On June 5, 1990, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction and a motion for class certification. The Clearinghouse does not have access to these motions so we do not know precisely what was sought.

On June 27, 1990, the action was referred to Magistrate Judge John F. Moulds.

On October 2, 1990, Chief Judge Robert E. Coyle granted the motion for preliminary injunction. The order required that the defendant maintain a cap on their prison population, provide all prisoners with beds, give certain prisoners access to day rooms, and make other changes to their processing procedures. This preliminary injunction was modified before trial, but the Clearinghouse does not have access to the documents that explain those modifications.

On March 21, 1991, Chief Judge Coyle granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The class was certified as all present and future Kern County jail inmates, starting April 9, 1990.

A jury trial ensued from May 1991 to June 1991. The available documents do not indicate the precise outcome of this trial.

On March 20, 1992, the case was reassigned to Judge Garland E. Burrell. And on October 8, 1992, Judge Burrell ordered a permanent injunction based on the reports and recommendations of Magistrate Judge Moulds. This injunction ordered defendants to give all prisoners better access to the law library, place a cap on inmate populations, have more staff on duty, have translators on staff when inmates who request them were seeking medical or mental health services, allow certain inmates in administrative segregation better access to exercise equipment, and ensure all the prisoners get beds. However, the district court refused to order the defendants to stop using padded safety cells for suicidal inmates.

In late November 1992, the defendant and plaintiffs filed cross-appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs appealed the court’s refusal to bar the use of safety cells. The defendants appealed the district court’s order for the exercise policy to be changed and for the prison to provide non-inmate translators.

While the permament injunction appeals were pending, on September 27, 1993, Magistrate Judge Moulds granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion for sanctions, which the plaintiffs appealed.

On January 28, 1994, Judge Garland Burrell, adopting in full the report and recommendations from Magistrate Judge Moulds, awarded plaintiffs attorney’s fees totaling $381,871.08. The defendants appealed this order to the 9th circuit.

On May 17, 1994, the 9th circuit held that, due to a jurisdictional defect, it could not hear the plaintiffs' appeal of the order for sanctions. We don’t have access to know what the jurisdictional defect was. The 9th circuit transferred the appeal back to the district court for further action.

On January 13, 1995, the 9th Circuit (Circuit Judges Cecil F. Poole, William C. Canby Jr., and Pamela Ann Rymer) affirmed the district court’s permanent injunction decision in part and reversed the decision in part. See 45 F.3d 1310 (1995). The appeals court affirmed the district court’s holding to refuse to enjoin the County from using safety cells, holding that temporary placement in safety cells was sometimes needed to deprive the prisoners of all means of harming themselves. The appeals court also affirmed the district court’s order to provide translators for prisoners during medical and mental health interviews, contending that this order was consistent with the jail’s existing policy. The appeals court reversed the decision of the district court with regard to the County’s policy on exercise access for prisoners housed in administrative segregation. The appeals court held that confinement and lack of exercise for these prisoners did not rise to the level of deliberate indifference.

On May 22, 1995, the 9th Circuit granted the defendant’s motion to vacate and remand the order for attorney’s fees made in January 1994. The proceeding was remanded back to the district court for further action.

On July 7, 1995, the 9th Circuit (Circuit Judges Poole, Canby, and Rymer) denied the plaintiffs-appellants-cross appellees' petition for rehearing and rejected the suggestion for rehearing en banc. See 75 F.3d 448, 449 (9th Cir. 1995).

After litigating over attorney’s fees for over a year, on September 30, 1996, Judge Burrell, based on the report and recommendations of Magistrate Judge Moulds, awarded the plaintiffs attorneys’ fees in the amount of $380,451.08.

The defendant appealed this order awarding attorney’s fees on October 21, 1996. The plaintiff filed a cross-appeal on November 4, 1996. But on April 2, 1997, the parties stipulated to dismissal with prejudice. The case was dismissed with prejudice on February 9, 1998. The Clearinghouse does not have access to the details of the voluntary dismissal.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Sarah Reasoner (2/21/2019)

Aaron Gurley (10/24/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Burrell, Garland Ellis Jr. (California)

Coyle, Robert Everett (California)

Moulds, John F. (California)

Poole, Cecil F. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berry, Gina S. (California)

Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California)

Derevan, Richard (California)

Fabricant, Deborah (California)

Herman, Richard P. (California)

Persons, Paul Turner (California)

Judge(s)

Burrell, Garland Ellis Jr. (California)

Coyle, Robert Everett (California)

Moulds, John F. (California)

Poole, Cecil F. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berry, Gina S. (California)

Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California)

Derevan, Richard (California)

Fabricant, Deborah (California)

Herman, Richard P. (California)

Persons, Paul Turner (California)

Rosen, Sanford Jay (California)

Sala, H. A. (California)

Stormer, Dan Lewis (California)

Webb, Michael Joseph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barmann, Bernard Charles (California)

Gallagher, Holly (California)

Hagar, John H. Jr. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:90-cv-00205

Docket [PACER]

Feb. 9, 1998

Feb. 9, 1998

Docket
26

1:90-cv-00205

First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Anderson v. Kern

Aug. 2, 1990

Aug. 2, 1990

Complaint
44

1:90-cv-00205

Order

Anderson v. Kern

Oct. 2, 1990

Oct. 2, 1990

Order/Opinion
152

1:90-cv-00205

Order

Anderson v. Kern

March 22, 1991

March 22, 1991

Order/Opinion

1:90-cv-00205

Order

Anderson v. Kern

March 25, 1991

March 25, 1991

Order/Opinion

1:90-cv-00205

Order

Anderson v. Kern

March 27, 1991

March 27, 1991

Order/Opinion

1:90-cv-00205

Findings and Recommendations

Anderson v. Kern

Nov. 2, 1991

Nov. 2, 1991

Order/Opinion
272

1:90-cv-00205

Order and Permanent Injunction

Anderson v. Kern

Oct. 8, 1992

Oct. 8, 1992

Order/Opinion
175

1:90-cv-00205

Judgment in a Civil Case

Anderson v. Kern

Oct. 26, 1992

Oct. 26, 1992

Order/Opinion

1:90-cv-00205

Stipulation and Order

Anderson v. Kern

Nov. 9, 1992

Nov. 9, 1992

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 12, 2022, 3:10 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

California Jail Population Caps

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 9, 1990

Closing Date: Feb. 9, 1998

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prisoners in Kern County jail.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Hadsell, Stormer & Renick

Prisoners Rights Union

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

County of Kern (Kern), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 380,451.08

Order Duration: 1990 - None

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Preliminary relief granted

Recordkeeping

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Restraints : physical

Suicide prevention

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Pre-PLRA Population Cap

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Self-injurious behaviors

Suicide prevention

Type of Facility:

Government-run