Case: Cooper v. City of Dothan

1:15-cv-00425 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

Filed Date: June 16, 2015

Closed Date: April 13, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 16, 2015, an arrestee in Dothan, Alabama, filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by attorneys from Equal Justice Under Law, the plaintiff sued the city of Dothan. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgment Act, alleging that Dothan had instituted a money-based detention scheme, where individuals who were arrested for minor traffic offenses and misdemeanors were released from cust…

On June 16, 2015, an arrestee in Dothan, Alabama, filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by attorneys from Equal Justice Under Law, the plaintiff sued the city of Dothan. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgment Act, alleging that Dothan had instituted a money-based detention scheme, where individuals who were arrested for minor traffic offenses and misdemeanors were released from custody almost immediately upon payment of a generically set bail amount. However, individuals who were too poor to pay this amount remained imprisoned for up to seven days while they awaited their docket to be called. Dothan did not allow for unsecured bonds, where an individual is released by promising to pay the amount if the person later does not appear. Furthermore, Dothan held the hearings for these imprisoned individuals in an empty courtroom that was closed to the public; the individuals appeared via video while still in jail. The plaintiff claimed that, as a result, Dothan had violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the plaintiff (and those similarly situated) by jailing him because he could afford to pay the generic bail amount. The plaintiff requested injunctive and declaratory relief, compensation for the damages suffered as a result of Dothan's conduct, and attorneys' fees.

With the complaint, the plaintiff also filed a motion for class certification and a temporary restraining order (TRO) to grant the plaintiff's release and halt Dothan's policies. On June 18, 2015, Chief Judge William Keith Watkins granted in part the plaintiff's motion for a TRO, ordering the plaintiff's release, but denied all other respects of the motion. Judge Watkins also set a hearing to determine whether to convert the TRO to a preliminary injunction.

However, on June 25, 2015, Dothan moved to deny the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction as moot because Dothan had begun allowing unsecured bonds for release from prison for minor traffic offenses and misdemeanors. Dothan noted that the plaintiff had conceded that this bail system cured any constitutional problems. Judge Watkins subsequently issued an order on June 26, 2015 requiring that Dothan and its employees, officers, and agents comply with the new bail system as outlined in Dothan's June 25 motion. Judge Watkins also dissolved the TRO as the parties pursued settlement on the remaining issues.

On April 13, 2016, the court granted the parties' joint motion for entry of a consent decree. The parties agreed that the procedures set forth in Dothan's June 25 motion satisfied the plaintiff's concerns. Per the consent decree, (1) Dothan was to comply with the new procedures for a minimum of three years, (2) Dothan was to notify the court of any intent to materially alter the procedures, (3) the plaintiff could request a preliminary injunction if it found Dothan was noncompliant, and (4) all damages claims were dismissed with prejudice.

The consent decree expired in 2019 without any further docket activity, and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

John He (10/16/2015)

Virginia Weeks (2/4/2018)

Bogyung Lim (4/15/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5584364/parties/cooper-v-the-city-of-dothan-joint-assign/


Judge(s)

Moorer, Terry Fitzgerald (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)

McGuire, Joseph Mitchell (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Copeland, Lee Hall (Alabama)

Holliday, Shannon L. (Alabama)

Kelly, Derel Kevan (Alabama)

White, Freddie Lenton II (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Moorer, Terry Fitzgerald (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)

McGuire, Joseph Mitchell (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Copeland, Lee Hall (Alabama)

Holliday, Shannon L. (Alabama)

Kelly, Derel Kevan (Alabama)

White, Freddie Lenton II (Alabama)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:15-cv-00425

Docket [PACER]

April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

Docket
1

1:15-cv-00425

Class Action Complaint (With Exhibit)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

Complaint
7

1:15-cv-00425

Order (Granting Temporary Restraining Order)

June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015

Order/Opinion
20

1:15-cv-00425

Motion to Continue or, in the Alternative, to Deny the Preliminary Injunction as Moot (With Exhibits)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

Pleading / Motion / Brief
25

1:15-cv-00425

Order (Dissolving Temporary Restraining Order)

June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015

Order/Opinion
39

1:15-cv-00425

Consent Decree

April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5584364/cooper-v-the-city-of-dothan-joint-assign/

Last updated Aug. 25, 2022, 3:21 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT against The City of Dothan ( Filing fee $ 400.00 receipt number 4602037212.), filed by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 fee receipt)(djy, ) (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

2

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, or in the alternative MOTION for Preliminary Injunction ; MOTION (REQUEST) for Expedited Hearing by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(djy, ) (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

3

MOTION to Certify Class by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(djy, ) (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

4

Motion for Alec Karakatsanis to Appear Pro Hac Vice ( Filing fee $ 50.00 receipt number 4602037213.) by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 fee receipt)(djy, ) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/23/2015: # 3 USDC Certificate of Good Standing) (wcl, ). Modified on 6/23/2015 to attach a PDF document of the required US District Court certificate of good standing which was previously omitted in error (wcl, ). (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015

5

Summons Issued as to The City of Dothan and mailed CMRRR with copies of complaint and various motions to the defendant. (djy, ) (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015

6

Supplemental MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order without oral or written notice by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit)(McGuire, Joseph) (Entered: 06/17/2015)

June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015

8

ORDERED that the evidentiary hearing currently set for 6/26/2015, at 10:00 AM, at the Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, 100 West Troy Street, Dothan, Alabama, is RESET for June 26, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., at the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse, One Church Street, Courtroom 2−B, Montgomery, Alabama; DIRECTING the Clerk to fax to Dft a copy of this Order. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/19/2015. (furn: calendar, ar) (FAXED, to Dothan City Attorney, as directed.) (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/19/2015)

June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015

10

RESPONSE to Motion re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction MOTION for Hearing filed by The City of Dothan. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4)(White, Freddie) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/22/2015 to redact personal information contained in original filing pursuant to the E−government rules: # 5 Exhibit 4 (Redacted)) (wcl, ). Modified on 6/22/2015 (wcl, ). (Entered: 06/22/2015)

June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

***Attorney Freddie Lenton White, II,Derel Kevan Kelly for The City of Dothan added pursuant to the 10 Response. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/22/2015)

June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

11

MOTION to Strike Exhibit 10−4 by Anthony Cooper. (Karakatsanis, Alec) (Entered: 06/22/2015)

June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

12

NOTICE of Correction re 4 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice, to attach a PDF document of the required US District Court certificate of good standing which was previously omitted in error. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment PDF Document of USDC Certificate of Good Standing to Docket Entry 4 )(wcl, ) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

13

TEXT ORDER granting 4 Motion for Alec Karakatsanis to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/23/2015. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

14

Return Receipt Card showing service of Summons and Complaint signed by D.C. for The City of Dothan served on 6/22/2015, answer due 7/13/2015. (wcl, ) Modified on 6/23/2015 to correct the docket text to reflect the correct signature, the correct service date as 6/23/2015, and the correct answer deadline as 7/13/2015 (wcl, ). (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

Set/Reset Deadlines: The City of Dothan Answer due 7/13/2015. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015

15

ORDER denying as moot 11 Motion to Strike. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/24/2015. (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/24/2015)

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015

16

REPLY to Response to Motion re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Anthony Cooper. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(McGuire, Joseph) Modified on to clarify the docket text 6/24/2015 (wcl, ). (Entered: 06/24/2015)

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015

17

ORDERED that the hearing to determine whether to convert the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction remains set for 6/26/2015, at 10:00 AM, at the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse, One Church Street, Courtroom 2−B, Montgomery, Alabama; The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to provide a court reporter for this hearing. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/25/2015. (furn: calendar, ar, wr) (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

18

NOTICE of Appearance by Shannon Lynn Holliday on behalf of The City of Dothan (Holliday, Shannon) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

19

NOTICE of Appearance by Lee Hall Copeland on behalf of The City of Dothan (Copeland, Lee) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

20

MOTION to Continue or, in the Alternative, to Deny the Preliminary Injunction as Moot by The City of Dothan. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2)(Holliday, Shannon) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

21

ORDERED that a telephonic status conference is SET for 6/25/2015, at 4:30 PM; Counsel for Plf and Dft are DIRECTED to participate; Counsel for Dft is DIRECTED to take all necessary action to coordinate and commence the conference call. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/25/2015. (furn: calendar, ar, wr)(wcl, ) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

22

RESPONSE in Opposition re 20 MOTION to Continue or, in the Alternative, to Deny the Preliminary Injunction as Moot filed by Anthony Cooper. (Karakatsanis, Alec) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

24

ORDERED that an on−the−record Telephonic Status Conference is SET for 6/26/2015, at 01:00 PM; Counsel for Plf and Dft are DIRECTED to participate; Counsel for Dft is DIRECTED to take all necessary action to coordinate and commence the conference call. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/26/2015. (furn: calendar, ar, wr)(wcl, ) (Entered: 06/26/2015)

June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015

25

ORDERED that the City of Dothan and its employees, officers, and agents comply with the procedures set forth in the Nunicipal Court order (Doc. # 20 −1) issued on 6/25/2015, until settlement, final judgment, or further order of this court, as further set out in order; further ORDERED that the 7 Temporary Restraining Order heretofore entered is dissolved; If the case is not otherwise resolved by then, the parties shall file a joint status report on or before 7/24/2015. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/26/2015. (wcl, ) (Entered: 06/26/2015)

June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge William Keith Watkins: Status Conference held on 6/29/2015 (PDF available for court use only). (ajr, ) (Entered: 07/02/2015)

June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

26

STATUS REPORT Joint by The City of Dothan. (Holliday, Shannon) Modified on 7/27/2015 to clarify text to reflect as also filed on behalf of Anthony Cooper (qc/djy, ). (Entered: 07/24/2015)

July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

Joint Status report considered to contain a MOTION to Continue by Anthony Cooper, The City of Dothan. (NO PDF document attached to this notice−See Docket Entry 26 ). (djy, ) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

27

Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement sent to The City of Dothan; Corporate Disclosures due by 8/6/2015. (Attachments: # 1 standing order and format)(djy, ) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

28

Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement sent to Anthony Cooper; Corporate Disclosures due by 8/6/2015. (Attachments: # 1 standing order and format)(djy, ) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

29

Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Statement by The City of Dothan re 27 Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement. (Holliday, Shannon) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

30

ORDER upon consideration of the 26 Joint Status report which contains a motion to continue; GRANTING MOTION to Continue to pursue settlement; if the case is not otherwise resolved the parties shall file a joint Status Report due by 8/24/2015. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 7/27/15. (djy, ) (Entered: 07/27/2015)

July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

31

Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Statement by Anthony Cooper re 28 Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement. (McGuire, Joseph) (Entered: 07/29/2015)

July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

32

STATUS REPORT JOINT by The City of Dothan. (Holliday, Shannon) (Entered: 08/24/2015)

Aug. 24, 2015

Aug. 24, 2015

33

ORDER directing that the parties file a joint Status Report on or before 1/18/2016. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 1/6/16. (djy, ) (Entered: 01/06/2016)

Jan. 6, 2016

Jan. 6, 2016

34

STATUS REPORT JOINT by The City of Dothan. (Holliday, Shannon) Modified on 1/19/2016 to clarify text to reflect as also filed on behalf of Anthony Cooper (qc/djy, ). (Entered: 01/18/2016)

Jan. 18, 2016

Jan. 18, 2016

35

ORDER directing that the parties file a joint Status Report on or before 2/10/2016. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 1/19/16. (djy, ) (Entered: 01/19/2016)

Jan. 19, 2016

Jan. 19, 2016

36

JOINT STATUS REPORT by The City of Dothan, Anthony Cooper. (Holliday, Shannon) Modified on 2/11/2016 to add as also filed on behalf of the plf (wcl, ). (Entered: 02/10/2016)

Feb. 10, 2016

Feb. 10, 2016

38

Joint MOTION Entry of Consent Order by The City of Dothan. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Holliday, Shannon) (Entered: 04/07/2016)

April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

39

CONSENT DECREE GRANTING 38 Joint MOTION Entry of a consent decree, as further set out in order. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 4/13/16. (djy, ) (Entered: 04/13/2016)

April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

40

FINAL JUDGMENT, in accordance with the Consent Decree entered this date, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that this case is DISMISSED with prejudice subject to this courts power to enforce the consent decree; directing the Clerk to enter this document on the civil docket as a final judgment pursuant to Rule 58 of the FRCP. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 4/13/16. (Attachments: # 1 civil appeals checklist)(djy, ) (Entered: 04/13/2016)

April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

7

(DISSOLVED PURSUANT TO THE COURT'S 25 ORDER) ORDER GRANTING plf's 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order insofar as the City is ORDERED to release plf Anthony Cooper immediately either on his own recognizance or subject to an unsecu red bond or other reasonable and lawful non-financial conditions; (2) plf's 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order is DENIED in all other respects; (3) a hearing to determine whether to convert this temporary restraining order into a prelimi nary injunction is set for Evidentiary Hearing on 6/26/2015 @ 10:00 AM before Chief Judge William Keith Watkins, at the Federal Bldg & US Courthouse, 100 West Troy Street, Dothan, AL; (4) By 12:00 p.m., Monday, 6/22/2015, Def is DIRECTED to resp ond to the motion for a preliminary injunction; (5) By 12:00 p.m., Thursday, 6/25/2015, Plf may file a reply to Def's response; (6) Plf is DIRECTED to serve Def with a copy of this Order, and the Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to fax to Def a copy of this Order. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/18/15 @ 10:00 a.m. (Attachments: # 1 civil appeals checklist). FAXED, to Dothan City Attorney, as directed.(djy, ) Modified on 6/26/2015 (wcl, ).

1 civil appeals checklist

View on PACER

June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Alabama

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 16, 2015

Closing Date: April 13, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Recent arrestee who could not afford to pay generically set bail amount.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

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 Dothan (Dothan, Houston), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

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

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2016 - 2019

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Conditions of confinement

Courts

Discharge & termination plans

Disparate Impact

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Over/Unlawful Detention

Poverty/homelessness

Timeliness of case assignment