Case: Francis v. State of California

03-302856 | California state trial court

Filed Date: Sept. 23, 2003

Closed Date: 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 23, 2003, a female prisoner sentenced to a restitution center in California filed this class action against the California Department of Corrections on behalf of herself and all past and current inmates in Los Angeles restitution centers. She brought the suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the California Superior Court on September 22, 2003 for violations of Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Represented by private counsel, she also alleged a number of state law claims agains…

On September 23, 2003, a female prisoner sentenced to a restitution center in California filed this class action against the California Department of Corrections on behalf of herself and all past and current inmates in Los Angeles restitution centers. She brought the suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the California Superior Court on September 22, 2003 for violations of Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Represented by private counsel, she also alleged a number of state law claims against the State of California, and the Volunteers of America, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization.

The named plaintiff was incarcerated for three years while working for a private institution, and as part of the restitution center policy, her paychecks were delivered directly to the center. The center was then instructed to use the funds to first reimburse the prisoner for all work-related expenses. The remaining funds were to be divided with one third going to the center for operational costs, one third to the victim of the inmate's restitution fund, and the final third to the inmate's savings account.

The plaintiff alleged that the center improperly handled her funds by not appropriately crediting her assigned restitution fund or reimbursing her for work-related expenses. In her complaint, the plaintiff included all past and current inmates affected by the center's mishandling of accounts.

On January 5, 2004, the defendant removed the case to federal court and litigation continued with a series of motions to dismiss and amended complaints. The plaintiff filed her fourth amended complaint in November of 2005, and on May 26, 2006, Judge Dean D. Pregerson granted the defendant's motion to dismiss all federal law claims. Judge Pregerson remanded to state court on the grounds that the plaintiff did not adequately state her claim after four attempts.

The plaintiff appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit; Judges Benitez and Silverman affirmed the ruling over a dissent by Judge Berzon on September 4, 2008. Judge Berzon pointed out in her dissent that the dismissal was not on the merits but was instead based on a clerical error and that the plaintiff should have been allowed to amend.

Back in state court, the plaintiff filed a motion for class certification on January 4, 2007. Judge Shook orally denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification in a notice of ruling due to the existence of the plaintiff's class action in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the time. The plaintiff appealed this ruling to the California Court of Appeals on February 27, 2007. Judge Rothschild reversed, asserting that class certification was appropriate on the grounds that the state court claims would likely be resolved much more expeditiously that the case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Upon resolution of the class certification issue, discovery and settlement negotiations continued through 2012. Then, on August 23, 2012, the parties filed a joint motion for final approval of class settlement. The settlement, which Judge Steven J. Kleifield approved on September 27, 2012, stipulated that the defendants pay $325,000: $69,223.71 for the class members and $255,776.29 for attorney's fees. The case was dismissed with prejudice on January 2, 2013.

Summary Authors

Nichollas Dawson (2/1/2018)

Lisa Limb (3/29/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Kleifield, Steven J. (California)

Pregerson, Dean D. (California)

Zarefsky, Ralph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cohn, Gerald B. (Illinois)

Estuar, Paul J. (California)

Ibarra, Delia (California)

Litt, Barrett S. (California)

Miller, Bryan Barnet (California)

Wolfe, Richard Frederick (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brown, Hartford O (California)

Judge(s)

Kleifield, Steven J. (California)

Pregerson, Dean D. (California)

Zarefsky, Ralph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cohn, Gerald B. (Illinois)

Estuar, Paul J. (California)

Ibarra, Delia (California)

Litt, Barrett S. (California)

Miller, Bryan Barnet (California)

Wolfe, Richard Frederick (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brown, Hartford O (California)

Gunny, Neil (California)

Raglin, Dennis E. (California)

Thompson, Molly B.W. (California)

Vazquez, Diyari (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [Pacer]

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Jan. 8, 2009 Docket

Docket

Francis vs. State of California

Jan. 2, 2013 Docket
55

Settlement Procedure Selection: Notice, Request, and Order

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

May 9, 2005 Settlement Agreement
154

Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Fourth Amendment Complaint

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

2006 WL 8447017

May 22, 2006 Order/Opinion
174

Mandate

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Jan. 8, 2009 Order/Opinion

Filing of Ninth Circuit Opinion

Feb. 20, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Joint Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement

Aug. 23, 2012 Settlement Agreement
416

Final Approval Order

Sept. 27, 2012 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 23, 2003

Closing Date: 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Past and current restitution center inmates in the state of California

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

State of California, State

Volunteers of America (Los Angeles, Los Angeles), Non-profit or advocacy

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 325,000

Issues

General:

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Work release or work assignments