Case: Powell v. City of St. Ann

4:15-cv-00840 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Filed Date: May 27, 2015

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 27, 2015, this lawsuit was brought in the United States for the Eastern District of Missouri by a person arrested by the City of St. Ann (the City), Missouri, who was jailed for a prolonged period after he was unable to pay the fee demanded for his release under the city’s “secured bail” policy. Under that policy, persons arrested for ordinance violations were required to post a bail from $150-350 or spend upwards of 3 days in jail, without any consideration of the person’s ability to pa…

On May 27, 2015, this lawsuit was brought in the United States for the Eastern District of Missouri by a person arrested by the City of St. Ann (the City), Missouri, who was jailed for a prolonged period after he was unable to pay the fee demanded for his release under the city’s “secured bail” policy. Under that policy, persons arrested for ordinance violations were required to post a bail from $150-350 or spend upwards of 3 days in jail, without any consideration of the person’s ability to pay. The plaintiff argued that the City’s policy violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Represented by public interest organizations ArchCity Defenders and Equal Justice Under Law, the plaintiff brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff asked the court for class certification to represent other similarly situated individuals, for a declaration that the City had violated the constitutional rights of arrestees who were unable to pay the City’s secured bail, for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief requiring the City to stop jailing arrestees for their inability to pay the City’s secured bail, for damages to the named plaintiff to compensate for his period of confinement, and for legal costs and attorneys’ fees.

That same day, plaintiffs moved for class certification for the proposed class: "all arrestees unable to pay for their release pursuant to St. Ann's fixed bail schedule who are or will become in the custody of St. Ann."

The next day, the parties asked the judge assigned to the case, Judge Rodney W. Sippel, to grant them a stay in proceedings so that they could conduct settlement negotiations. To that end, plaintiffs dropped their request for preliminary injunctive relief pending the outcome of the negotiations. The day after that, on May 29, 2015, Judge Sippel granted a stay, and asked the parties to report the outcome of the negotiations to him by August 3, 2015.

On September 2, 2015, Judge Sippel asked the parties, who had failed to meet his August 3 deadline, to show cause for why he shouldn’t dismissed the case with prejudice or issue sanctions. That same day, the parties issued a joint motion showing the judge their provisional settlement agreement, and explaining that they wanted to see how the changes that the agreement required in the City’s policies worked over the coming year. The next day, Judge Sippel agreed to give the parties twelve months to test the effects of the policy changes, and ordered the defendants to comply with the provisional settlement agreement during that period.

Under the provisional settlement agreement, the plaintiffs agreed to drop most of their non-equitable claims (the claims for monetary damages). The defendants agreed to meet most of plaintiff’s demands for injunctive relief, and to give the named plaintiff a $10,000 fee for acting as a class representative. Namely, the defedants agreed to stop requiring arrestees to post a secured bail for release. Instead, they agreed to release arrestees if they agreed to provide an unsecured bond (a bond which requires persons to pay the court only if they fail to adhere to the conditions of their bail) or a recognizance (an alternative set of conditions for preventing persons from violating the terms of their bail to the payment of a monetary fee), except for cases in which the arrestee was a threat and detention was required to protect the community. The defendants also agreed to improve their procedures for notifying arrestees of their court dates, and to release persons arrested for failure to attend court dates on unsecured bonds.

The parties agreed that the plaintiff and their counsel would notify defendants of any perceived breach in the agreement, and that the plaintiff and their counsel reserved the right to pursue judgment against defendants if they failed to remedy the breach. The parties also reserved the right to seek modification of the agreement, and if they fail to reach an agreement on modification, to terminate the agreement and resume litigation.

On June 5, 2017, Judge Sippel ordered the parties to show cause for why their respective cases should not be dismissed. He noted that both parties had failed to file official settlement documents by the required date he had set. Both parties responded, and a status conference was set.

A consent judgment was filed by the defendant and signed on May 4, 2018 by Judge Sippel. In the consent judgement, the defendant specifically agreed to (1) not utilize secured money bail for persons in the custody of the Defendant on arrest; (2) offer any arrested person release from the custody of the Defendant on recognizance or on an unsecured bond as soon as practicable after booking (with the only exception are persons charged with assault, or if release would pose a danger to the community); (3) notify all arrestees in writing upon release from custody when and where they are required to appear in court; (4) specific procedures in relation to traffic stops; (5) mail a notice of a motion for bond forfeiture, should the released person fail to appear in court; and (6) to take appropriate and lawful steps to convert any unsecured bond into a money judgment at any time after non-appearance.

The court retained jurisdiction over the consent judgement for two years starting on May 4, 2018. Subsequent to the dissolution of the consent judgment, the defendant agreed to continue to (1) ensure that indigent persons arrested were afforded the necessary protections under the law; and (2) comply with applicable state and federal laws pertaining to the setting of conditions upon pre-trail release from custody.

As of May 20, 2020, there has been no further action in the docket and the case is presumed to be closed.

Summary Authors

Ryan Berry (7/12/2016)

Sarah McDonald (4/5/2018)

Dawn Lui (11/7/2018)

Alex Moody (5/20/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4299667/parties/powell-v-the-city-of-st-ann/


Judge(s)

Sippel, Rodney W. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carroll, Nathaniel R. (Missouri)

Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)

Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)

Strode, Blake Alexander (Missouri)

Voss, Michael-John (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Garrett, Steven W. (Missouri)

Judge(s)

Sippel, Rodney W. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carroll, Nathaniel R. (Missouri)

Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)

Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)

Strode, Blake Alexander (Missouri)

Voss, Michael-John (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Garrett, Steven W. (Missouri)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

May 4, 2018 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

May 27, 2015 Complaint
11

Provisional Settlement Agreements

Sept. 2, 2015 Settlement Agreement
13

Order [dismissing non-equitable claims]

Sept. 3, 2015 Order/Opinion
42

Consent Judgment

May 4, 2018 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Litigating Bail Money Away: A Dim Future for the Status of the Poor Under the 14 Amendment

Mel Gonzales

In this essay, first, I contextualize the current bail system, drawing on criminal justice and social science research, to reveal a dim picture of the inequities it produces. I then overview the grow… March 6, 2017 https://papers.ssrn.com/...

Parole News Blog links to Clearinghouse

Parole News

Link to Clearinghouse: "Profile of the Graziano v. Pataki federal case, produced by the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse" Aug. 7, 2016 http://parolenews.blogspot.com/...

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4299667/powell-v-the-city-of-st-ann/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against defendant Kellen Powell with receipt number 0865-4883422, in the amount of $400 Non-Jury Demand,, filed by Kellen Powell. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit, # 2 Attachment, # 3 Attachment, # 4 Attachment, # 5 Attachment, # 6 Text of Proposed Order, # 7 Affidavit, # 8 Civil Cover Sheet)(Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

1 Affidavit

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2 Attachment

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3 Attachment

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4 Attachment

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5 Attachment

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6 Text of Proposed Order

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7 Affidavit

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8 Civil Cover Sheet

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May 27, 2015 RECAP
2

MOTION to Certify Class by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Alec Karakatsanis)(CSG) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

1 Declaration of Alec Karakatsanis

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May 27, 2015 PACER
3

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(CSG) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

1 Text of Proposed Order

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May 27, 2015 RECAP
4

MEMORANDUM in Support of Motion re 3 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (CSG) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

May 27, 2015 RECAP
5

MOTION to Waive the Security for Injunction Bond by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Kellen Powell)(CSG) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

1 Declaration of Kellen Powell

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May 27, 2015 RECAP
6

MEMORANDUM To Court Regarding Contact With Opposing Counsel and Notice of TRO Hearing by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 05/27/2015)

May 27, 2015 PACER

Case Opening Notification

May 28, 2015 PACER
7

MOTION to Withdraw Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 05/28/2015)

May 28, 2015 RECAP
8

NOTICE of Settlement Discusssions by Kellen Powell (Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 05/28/2015)

May 28, 2015 RECAP

Case Opening Notification: Judge Assigned: U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel. (MRC)

May 28, 2015 PACER
9

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER OF STAY:IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion to withdraw the motion for temporary restraining order [# 7 ] is granted, the motion for temporary restraining order [# 3 ] is withdrawn, and the motion to waive security [# 5 ] is denied as moot. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is stayed until August 3, 2015, to permit the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. By no later than August 3, 2015, the parties shall either notify the Court of settlement or file a joint memorandum regarding the status of the case. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 5/29/15. (JWD) (Entered: 05/29/2015)

May 29, 2015 PACER
10

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties shall show cause in writing within ten (10) days of the date of this Order why this case should not be dismissed with prejudice and/or sanctions should not issue for the parties' refusal to comply with my May 29, 2015 Order. The parties may file a stipulation of dismissal in lieu of a response to this Show Cause Order by no later than ten (10) days from the date of this Order.. Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 9/2/15. (LGK) (Entered: 09/02/2015)

Sept. 2, 2015 PACER
11

Joint MOTION to Stay Case and Dismissal by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Settlement Agreement of Non-equitable claims, # 2 Exhibit Settlement Agreement for equitable claims, # 3 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order for Stay and Dismissal)(Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 09/02/2015)

1 Exhibit Settlement Agreement of Non-equitable claims

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2 Exhibit Settlement Agreement for equitable claims

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3 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order for Stay and Dismissal

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Sept. 2, 2015 PACER
12

RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Jointly Filed by Counsel for Plaintiff and Defendant by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 09/03/2015)

Sept. 3, 2015 PACER
13

ORDER - Based on the representations of the Parties, the Court orders the following: 1. The Plaintiffs' non-equitable claims are hereby dismissed with prejudice subject only to the continuing jurisdiction of the Court to enforce the settlement agreements and over the aforesaid equitable claims. 2. The Parties' motion for the entry of a stay in this matter for a period of 12 months is granted. 3. On or before 12 months from the date of this Order, the parties are directed to either file the joint motion and proposed consent judgement set forth in their agreement or a notice to the Court seeking a dissolve of the stay. 4. During the period of the stay, the Parties are ordered to comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the terms of which are as follows: (See order for full details) Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 9/3/15. (KJS) (Entered: 09/03/2015)

Sept. 3, 2015 PACER
14

Consent MOTION to Continue Stay by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 09/02/2016)

Sept. 2, 2016 PACER
15

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 14 Consent MOTION to Continue Stay filed by The City of St. Ann; GRANTED - SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 9/6/16. (KJS) (Entered: 09/06/2016)

Sept. 6, 2016 PACER
16

Consent MOTION to Continue STAY by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 10/25/2016)

Oct. 25, 2016 PACER
17

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 16 Consent MOTION to Continue STAY by The City of St. Ann; GRANTED - SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 10/26/16. (KJS) (Entered: 10/26/2016)

Oct. 26, 2016 PACER
18

Consent MOTION to Continue Stay, by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) Modified on 12/2/2016 (CAR). (Entered: 12/01/2016)

Dec. 1, 2016 PACER
19

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 18 Consent MOTION to Continue Stay, filed by The City of St. Ann; ORDERED GRANTED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 12/2/16. (CAR) (Entered: 12/02/2016)

Dec. 2, 2016 PACER
20

Consent MOTION to Continue stay by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 01/03/2017)

Jan. 3, 2017 PACER
21

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 20 Consent MOTION to Continue the stay up to and including February 2, 2017, by Defendant The City of St. Ann ; ORDERED GRANTED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 1/4/17. (KXS) (Entered: 01/04/2017)

Jan. 4, 2017 PACER
22

Consent MOTION to Continue Stay, MOTION to Stay by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 02/02/2017)

Feb. 2, 2017 PACER
23

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 22 Consent MOTION to Continue Stay, MOTION to Stay by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) filed by The City of St. Ann. SO ORDERED; For good cause shown, the stay is continued up to, and including, April 7, 2017. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 3/22/17. (ARL) (Entered: 03/22/2017)

March 22, 2017 PACER
24

Consent MOTION to Stay by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 04/10/2017)

April 10, 2017 PACER
25

Docket Text ORDER: Re: 24 Consent MOTION to Stay filed by The City of St. Ann; ORDERED GRANTED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 4/11/17. (CAR) (Entered: 04/11/2017)

April 11, 2017 PACER
26

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties shall show cause in writing within ten (10) days of the date of this Order why this case should not be dismissed for the parties refusal to comply with my September 3, 2015 Order. No additional extensions of time will be granted absent good cause shown. Failure to timely comply with this Order will result in a dismissal of this action without further notice. Show Cause Response due by 6/15/2017. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 6/5/17. (ARL) (Entered: 06/05/2017)

June 5, 2017 RECAP
27

RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Dated June 5, 2017 by Defendant The City of St. Ann filed by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 06/13/2017)

June 13, 2017 PACER
28

ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Show Cause Order dated June 5, 2017, is deemed satisfied and the parties shall either file their settlement papers or a joint request for status conference by July 7, 2017, and this case remains stayed pending further Order of this Court. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 6/14/17. (CAR) (Entered: 06/14/2017)

June 14, 2017 RECAP
29

REPORT TO COURT ORDER re 28 Order, and Joint Request for Status Conference by Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Harvey, Thomas) (Entered: 06/30/2017)

June 30, 2017 PACER
30

ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is set for a status conference on July 31, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. in the chambers of the undersigned. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 7/5/17. (CAR) (Entered: 07/05/2017)

July 5, 2017 PACER
31

ORDER: Status Conference set for 1/26/2018 10:00 AM in Chambers before District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 7/31/17. (LGK) (Entered: 07/31/2017)

July 31, 2017 PACER
32

ENTRY of Appearance by Nathaniel Richard Carroll for Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Carroll, Nathaniel) (Entered: 08/14/2017)

Aug. 14, 2017 PACER
33

ENTRY of Appearance by Blake Alexander Strode for Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Strode, Blake) (Entered: 08/17/2017)

Aug. 17, 2017 PACER
34

ORDER : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the status conference in this matter is reset from Friday, January 26, 2018 to Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in my chambers. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 1/24/16. (ARL) (Entered: 01/24/2018)

Jan. 24, 2018 PACER
35

Consent MOTION to Continue Status Conference by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 01/25/2018)

Jan. 25, 2018 PACER
36

ENTRY of Appearance by Michael-John Voss for Plaintiff Kellen Powell. (Voss, Michael-John) (Entered: 01/25/2018)

Jan. 25, 2018 PACER
37

ORDER : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion to continue status conference 35 is granted, and the status conference is reset to February 8, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. in the chambers of the undersigned. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 1/26/18. (ARL) (Entered: 01/26/2018)

Jan. 26, 2018 PACER
38

ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is set for a status conference on March 21, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. in the chambers of the undersigned. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 2/8/18. (ARL) (Entered: 02/08/2018)

Feb. 8, 2018 PACER
39

ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is set for a status conference on April 25, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. in the chambers of the undersigned. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 3/21/2018. (CAR) (Entered: 03/21/2018)

March 21, 2018 PACER
40

ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the status conference in this matter is reset from Wednesday, April 25, 2018 to Monday, April 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in my chambers. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 4/16/18. (ARL) (Entered: 04/16/2018)

April 16, 2018 RECAP
41

MEMORANDUM by Defendant The City of St. Ann. (Attachments: # 1 Consent Judgment)(Garrett, Steven) (Entered: 05/02/2018)

1 Consent Judgment

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May 2, 2018 RECAP
42

CONSENT JUDGMENT. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 5/4/2018. (CAR) (Entered: 05/04/2018)

May 4, 2018 RECAP

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 27, 2015

Closing Date: May 4, 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Named plaintiff, an arrestee imprisoned due to inability to pay preset bail amount, and class of "all arrestees unable to pay for their release pursuant to St. Ann's fixed bail schedule who are or will become in the custody of St. Ann."

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ArchCity Defenders

Equal Justice Under Law

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

City of St. Ann , City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Amount Defendant Pays: $10,000

Order Duration: 2018 - 2020

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Issues

General:

Discharge & termination plans

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Placement in detention facilities

Poverty/homelessness