Case: Prison Legal News v. Tulare

1:15-cv-01650 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Filed Date: Oct. 29, 2015

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 29, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The Plaintiff sued the County of Tulare under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Human Rights Defense Center and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, the Plaintiff asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as damages. PLN claimed that the County of Tulare violated its free speech, due process, and equal protection rights under the First and …

On October 29, 2015, Prison Legal News (PLN) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The Plaintiff sued the County of Tulare under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Human Rights Defense Center and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, the Plaintiff asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as damages. PLN claimed that the County of Tulare violated its free speech, due process, and equal protection rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Specifically, the Plaintiff claimed that the County of Tulare censored its publication by adopting and implementing mail policies that prohibited delivery of the PLN mail, and the County failed to provide due process notice or opportunity to challenge the censorship. The Plaintiff requested declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages. Four days later, the Plaintiff requested a preliminary injunction.

On December 16, 2015, Judge John A. Mendez, granted in part the Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. The court denied the request that the prison be barred from censoring mail because it contained staples. Because the Defendants already ceased this policy and implemented a new one that allowed delivery of the Plaintiff's publications to jail inmates after staff removed any staples and tapes, the court held that the Plaintiff did not have a likelihood of current irreparable harm. But the court granted the Plaintiff's request that Defendants provide adequate written notice and an administrative appeal process to both prisoners and senders when Defendants refuse to deliver publications to prisoners at the County jails. The court found sufficient likelihood of success on this due process claim, that the Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm, and that the preliminary injunction was in the public's interest.

In February 2016, the parties began settlement negotiations and the court appointed Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan to mediate the settlement. The parties reached an agreement and on July 6, 2016, Judge Mendez entered a consent decree. Under the agreement, the Defendants agreed to deliver publications, correspondence, or documents sent by any publisher to prisoners and not refuse them because they contain staples, provided that the Defendants may remove the staples. Additionally, the Defendants agreed to provide adequate written notice and an administrative review process of decisions to refuse any publication, correspondence, or document sent from the publisher. The Defendants agreed to include an explanation of the new mail policy in its handbook and website and pay $15,000 in damages and an additional amount for attorneys' fees and costs. The court retained jurisdiction for the consent decree to remain in effect until a motion for termination by either party. However, the court found that the case concerned the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of a publisher and therefore, was not a case concerning prison conditions under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. On August 8, 2016, the court ordered the Defendants to pay $140,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

As of March 21, 2020, there has been no additional activity on this case, but it is still ongoing since the consent decree is still in effect.

Summary Authors

Kat Brausch (2/18/2016)

Emily Kempa (5/27/2019)

Caitlin Kierum (3/21/2020)

Related Cases

Prison Legal News v. County of Sacramento, Eastern District of California (2011)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5963925/parties/prison-legal-news-v-county-of-tulare/


Judge(s)

Boone, Stanley A. (California)

Mendez, John A. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bornstein, Jeffrey L (California)

Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California)

Hu, Christopher David (California)

Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Stimmel, Kevin Alan (California)

Taylor, Kathleen A. (California)

Judge(s)

Boone, Stanley A. (California)

Mendez, John A. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bornstein, Jeffrey L (California)

Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California)

Hu, Christopher David (California)

Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)

Weber, Lance Theodore (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Stimmel, Kevin Alan (California)

Taylor, Kathleen A. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Prison Legal News v. County of Tulare

Feb. 18, 2020 Docket
1

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Damages

Prison Legal News v. County of Tulare

Oct. 29, 2015 Complaint
27

Order Denying in Part and Granting in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Prison Legal News v. County of Tulare

Dec. 16, 2015 Order/Opinion
43

Stipulation and [Proposed] Consent Decree

July 1, 2016 Settlement Agreement
44

Stipulation and Consent Decree

July 5, 2016 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5963925/prison-legal-news-v-county-of-tulare/

Last updated May 12, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
27

ORDER signed by Judge John A. Mendez on 12/16/2015 GRANTING-IN-PART and DENYING-IN-PART 12 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (Donati, J)

Dec. 16, 2015 RECAP
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants by Prison Legal News. Attorney Ells, Lisa Adrienne added. (Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 0972−6150163) (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 10/29/2015)

Oct. 29, 2015
34

STIPULATION and ORDER 31 for Settlement Judge assignment signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 2/25/2016. Court, having reviewed parties' Joint Stipulation and good cause appearing, Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan is hereby APPOINTED to mediate a Settlement Conference. (Marciel, M)

Feb. 26, 2016 RECAP
2

NOTICE of RELATED CASE 2:11−CV−00907 by Prison Legal News. (Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 10/29/2015)

Oct. 29, 2015
3

SUMMONS ISSUED as to *Mike Boudreaux* with answer to complaint due within *21* days. Attorney *Lisa Adrienne Ells* *Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld LLP* *50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor* *San Francisco, CA 94105*. (Jessen, A) (Entered: 10/29/2015)

Oct. 29, 2015
39

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 04/21/16 ORDERING that the proposed consent decree shall be submitted to the district judge with 21 days; parties shall submit a stipulated briefing schedule on the anticipated motion for attorney's fees. All hearing dates set in this matter are VACATED. (Benson, A)

April 22, 2016 RECAP
42

STIPULATION and ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 6/24/2016 GRANTING Request for Extension of Time to File Consent Decree. The parties shall file their consent decree no later than 7/1/2016. (Donati, J)

June 24, 2016 RECAP
4

SUMMONS ISSUED as to *County of Tulare* with answer to complaint due within *21* days. Attorney *Lisa Adrienne Ells* *Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld LLP* *50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor* *San Francisco, CA 94105*. (Jessen, A) (Entered: 10/29/2015)

Oct. 29, 2015
5

CIVIL NEW CASE DOCUMENTS ISSUED: Status Conference re Consent / Initial Scheduling Conference set for 2/2/2016 at 09:45 AM in Courtroom 9 (SAB) before Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone. (Attachments: # 1 Order Assigning Action to Sac DJ, # 2 Consent Form, # 3 VDRP) (Jessen, A) (Entered: 10/29/2015)

Oct. 29, 2015
44

STIPULATION and CONSENT DECREE signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 07/05/2016. CASE CLOSED. (Jackson, T)

July 6, 2016 RECAP
46

STIPULATION and ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 7/7/2016 ORDERING that plaintiff's fee application is to be filed on or before 9/1/2016. Defendants' opposition to plaintiff's fee application to be filed on or before 9/30/2016. Plaintiff's reply in support of their fee application to be filed on or before 10/11/2016. The hearing on this motion shall be set for 10/18/2016 at 1:30 PM before Judge Mendez. (Zignago, K.)

July 8, 2016 RECAP
7

MINUTE ORDER: (TEXT ENTRY ONLY) Due to the decline to magistrate jurisdiction, the Clerk's office is instructed to randomly assign a Sacramento District Judge to this case. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 11/2/2015. (Hernandez, M) (Entered: 11/02/2015)

Nov. 2, 2015
8

CLERK'S NOTICE: This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Mendez; the new case number is 1:15−cv−1650 JAM−SAB. (Martin−Gill, S) (Entered: 11/02/2015)

Nov. 2, 2015
49

JUDGMENT signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 8/8/16 ORDERING that judgment is granted in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of $140,000.00 against Defendants for Plaintiff's attorneys' fees and costs accrued as of 8/4/2016, the date of Defendants' Offer of Judgment. Plaintiff's equitable and damages claims were previously resolved pursuant to the parties' stipulation and consent decree, which this Court entered on 7/5/2016. (Kastilahn, A)

Aug. 9, 2016 RECAP
9

SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED: County of Tulare served on 11/2/2015, answer due 11/23/2015. (Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/03/2015)

Nov. 3, 2015
10

SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED: Mike Boudreaux served on 11/3/2015, answer due 11/24/2015. (Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/03/2015)

Nov. 3, 2015
11

ORDER REQUIRING JOINT STATUS REPORT (Attachments: # 1 Order re Filing Requirements) (Donati, J) (Entered: 11/03/2015)

Nov. 3, 2015
12

MOTION for PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION by Prison Legal News. Motion Hearing set for 12/16/2015 at 09:30 AM in Courtroom 6 (JAM) before Judge John A. Mendez. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order , # 2 Declaration of Paul Wright, # 3 Declaration of John Clark, # 4 Declaration of Jacob Chavez, # 5 Declaration of Eduardo Martinez, # 6 Declaration of John Moisa, # 7 Declaration of Michael Serna, # 8 Proof of Service)(Ells, Lisa) Modified on 11/4/2015 (Kastilahn, A). (Entered: 11/03/2015)

Nov. 3, 2015
13

PRO HAC VICE APPLICATION and PROPOSED ORDER submitted by Prison Legal News for attorney Lance Weber to appear Pro Hac Vice. (Filing fee $ 200, receipt number 0972−6158211) (Attachments: # 1 Lance Weber Certificate of Good Standing)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/04/2015)

Nov. 4, 2015
14

PRO HAC VICE APPLICATION and PROPOSED ORDER submitted by Prison Legal News for attorney Sabarish Neelakanta to appear Pro Hac Vice. (Filing fee $ 200, receipt number 0972−6158241) (Attachments: # 1 Sabarish Neelakanta Certificate of Good Standing)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/04/2015)

Nov. 4, 2015
15

SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED: (Attachments: # 1 Proof of Service)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/04/2015)

Nov. 4, 2015
16

SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED: (Attachments: # 1 Proof of Service)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/04/2015)

Nov. 4, 2015
17

PRO HAC VICE ORDER signed by Judge John A. Mendez on 11/4/15. Added attorney Sabarish Neelakanta, PHV for Prison Legal News.(Mena−Sanchez, L) (Entered: 11/05/2015)

Nov. 5, 2015
18

PRO HAC VICE ORDER signed by Judge John A. Mendez on 11/4/15. Added attorney Lance Weber, PHV for Prison Legal News. (Mena−Sanchez, L) (Entered: 11/05/2015)

Nov. 5, 2015
19

DECLARATION of Darrin Wright in SUPPORT OF 12 MOTION for PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION . (Attachments: # 1 Proof of Service)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/10/2015)

Nov. 10, 2015
20

DECLARATION of Marwin McDarment in SUPPORT OF 12 MOTION for PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION . (Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 11/10/2015)

Nov. 10, 2015
21

STIPULATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO RESPOND TO COMPLAINT by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. Attorney Stimmel, Kevin Alan added. (Stimmel, Kevin) (Entered: 11/20/2015)

Nov. 20, 2015
22

CONSENT to JURISDICTION of US MAGISTRATE JUDGE by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. (Stimmel, Kevin) (Entered: 11/20/2015)

Nov. 20, 2015
23

OPPOSITION to 12 Motion for Preliminary Injunction by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Thomas Sigley, # 2 Declaration of Kevin Stimmel) (Stimmel, Kevin) Modified on 12/18/2015 (Michel, G.). (Entered: 12/02/2015)

Dec. 2, 2015
25

REPLY by Prison Legal News re 23 Opposition to Motion. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Paul Wright)(Hu, Christopher) (Entered: 12/09/2015)

Dec. 9, 2015
26

MINUTES (Text Only) for proceedings before Judge John A. Mendez: Hearing on Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction held on 12/16/2015. After hearing argument, the Court ordered the matter submitted. Plaintiffs Counsel L. Ells present. Defendants Counsel K. Stimmel; A. Terrible present. Court Reporter: K. O'Halloran. (Vine, H) (Entered: 12/16/2015)

Dec. 16, 2015
28

STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for Continuance of Initial Scheduling Conference by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. (Stimmel, Kevin) (Entered: 01/21/2016)

Jan. 21, 2016
29

MINUTE ORDER: (TEXT ENTRY ONLY)Due to the decline to magistrate jurisdiction and assignment to U.S. District Judge Mendez, the Initial Scheduling Conference set for 2/2/2016 before Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone is taken off calendar. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 1/22/2016. (Hernandez, M) (Entered: 01/22/2016)

Jan. 22, 2016
30

MINUTE ORDER: The parties shall file a joint status report on or before February 26, 2016. (TEXT ENTRY ONLY) (Vine, H) (Entered: 02/10/2016)

Feb. 10, 2016
31

STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for appointment of Magistrate Judge Brennan to mediate Settlement Conference by Prison Legal News. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Ells, Lisa) Modified on 2/26/2016 (Marciel, M) (Entered: 02/22/2016)

Feb. 22, 2016
32

MINUTE ORDER: Settlement Conference set for 4/21/2016 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 8 (EFB) before Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan. The parties are directed to submit confidential settlement conference statements via e−mail (efborders@caed.uscourts.gov) to chambers seven (7) days prior to the settlement conference. Such statements are neither to be filed with the clerk nor served on opposing counsel. However, each party shall e−file a one page document entitled Notice of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement. The parties may agree, or not, to serve each other with the settlement statements. Each party is reminded of the requirement that it be represented in person at the settlement conference by a person able to dispose of the case or fully authorized to settle the matter at the settlement conference on any terms. See Local Rule 270. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 2/26/2016. (Text only entry)(Cannarozzi, N) (Entered: 02/26/2016)

Feb. 26, 2016
33

AMENDED MINUTE ORDER re: 32 . The hearing date for the Settlement Conference is RESET from 4/21/2016 to 4/7/2016 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 8 (EFB) before Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan. The parties are directed to submit confidential settlement conference statements via e−mail (efborders@caed.uscourts.gov) to chambers seven (7) days prior to the settlement conference. Such statements are neither to be filed with the clerk nor served on opposing counsel. However, each party shall e−file a one page document entitled Notice of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement. The parties may agree, or not, to serve each other with the settlement statements. Each party is reminded of the requirement that it be represented in person at the settlement conference by a person able to dispose of the case or fully authorized to settle the matter at the settlement conference on any terms. See Local Rule 270. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 2/26/2016. (Text only entry)(Cannarozzi, N) (Entered: 02/26/2016)

Feb. 26, 2016
36

NOTICE of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement by Prison Legal News. (Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 04/14/2016)

April 14, 2016
37

NOTICE of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement by All Defendants. Attorney Taylor, Kathleen A. added. (Taylor, Kathleen) (Entered: 04/14/2016)

April 14, 2016
38

MINUTES (Text Only) for SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE held on 4/21/2016 before Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan: All parties present. After discussions with the Court, the case was settled. The terms of the settlement were placed on the record. Court order to issue. Plaintiffs Counsel Lisa Ells present. Defendants Counsel Kevin Stimmel and Kathleen Taylor present. Court Reporter/CD Number: ECRO, CD 1 of 1. (Cannarozzi, N) (Entered: 04/21/2016)

April 21, 2016
40

JOINT STATEMENT re Proposed Consent Decree. (Hu, Christopher) Modified on 5/20/2016 (Becknal, R). (Entered: 05/20/2016)

May 20, 2016
41

STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for Extension of Time to File Consent Decree by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. (Taylor, Kathleen) (Entered: 06/24/2016)

June 24, 2016
43

STIPULATION and Proposed Consent Decree by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. (Taylor, Kathleen) Modified on 7/1/2016 (Becknal, R). (Entered: 07/01/2016)

July 1, 2016
45

STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for Setting Briefing Schedule by Mike Boudreaux, County of Tulare. (Taylor, Kathleen) (Entered: 07/07/2016)

July 7, 2016
47

NOTICE of ACCEPTANCE with OFFER of JUDGMENT by Prison Legal News. (Attachments: # 1 Proof of Service)(Ells, Lisa) (Entered: 08/08/2016)

Aug. 8, 2016
48

[PROPOSED] Judgment re 47 Notice of Acceptance with Offer of Judgment − ATY by Prison Legal News. (Ells, Lisa) Modified on 8/9/2016 (Mena−Sanchez, L). (Entered: 08/08/2016)

Aug. 8, 2016
50

NOTICE of RELATED CASE(S) 20−cv−00285 by Human Rights Defense Center. Attorney Bornstein, Jeffrey L. added. (Bornstein, Jeffrey) (Entered: 02/07/2020)

Feb. 7, 2020
51

NOTICE of RELATED CASE(S) 20−cv−00359−WBS−DMC by Human Rights Defense Center. (Bornstein, Jeffrey) (Entered: 02/18/2020)

Feb. 18, 2020

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Prison Legal News

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 29, 2015

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prison Legal News, a publisher of a journal of corrections news and analysis and a distributor of books to prisoners, lawyers, etc. about the criminal justice system and legal issues affecting prisoners.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

County of Tulare (Tulare), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Establishment Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Attorneys fees

Damages

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 155,000

Order Duration: 2016 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Conditions of confinement

Mail

Type of Facility:

Government-run