Case: Cook v. Taylor

2:18-cv-00977 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

Filed Date: Nov. 19, 2018

Closed Date: May 1, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 19, 2018, individuals whose driver’s licenses were suspended because of failure to pay traffic tickets filed this putative class action against the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming under 42 U.S.C. §1983 that Alabama’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses without procedural protection violated the Equal Prot…

On November 19, 2018, individuals whose driver’s licenses were suspended because of failure to pay traffic tickets filed this putative class action against the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming under 42 U.S.C. §1983 that Alabama’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses without procedural protection violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case was assigned to Judge William Keith Watkins.

A provision in the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure authorized courts to order the suspension of driver's licenses without notice, hearing, or inquiry, for nonpayment of traffic tickets. The plaintiffs failed to pay traffic tickets because of their financial difficulty and as a consequence, their driver’s licenses were suspended. Because they lived in rural areas where public transportation was unavailable, this left them without transportation between work, home, education, and medical care.

On November 19, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction; on December 21, 2018, the state moved to dismiss.

On May 1, 2019, the court issued orders on a series of motions. First, it denied the plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary injunction. Because the plaintiffs had outstanding traffic tickets in addition to the tickets at issue in the case, and the court therefore could not restore the plaintiffs' driver's licenses even if the plaintiffs prevailed in the case, the court found that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing. As the court determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit, it dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction. Second, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The court determined that as the plaintiffs lacked standing, class certification is inappropriate. Third, the court found that it need not decide the merits of the defendants’ claims to dismiss. 2019 WL 1938794.

The court dismissed the case with prejudice.

Summary Authors

Chiaki Nojiri (2/20/2019)

Bogyung Lim (6/23/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14721961/parties/cook-v-taylor/


Judge(s)

Walker, Susan Jane (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davis, Danielle E. (Alabama)

West, Micah (Alabama)

Zampierin, Sara (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barnes, Meridith (Alabama)

Chynoweth, Brad A. (Alabama)

Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Walker, Susan Jane (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davis, Danielle E. (Alabama)

West, Micah (Alabama)

Zampierin, Sara (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barnes, Meridith (Alabama)

Chynoweth, Brad A. (Alabama)

Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:18-cv-00977

Docket [PACER]

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

Docket
1

2:18-cv-00977

Complaint

Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

Complaint
35

2:18-cv-00977

Memorandum Opinion and Order

2019 WL 1938794

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14721961/cook-v-taylor/

Last updated July 22, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF against Hal Taylor (Filing fee $ 400.00 receipt number 4602051480.), filed by Christopher Gray, Lakendra Cook, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Lakendra Cook, # 2 Declaration of Christopher Gray, # 3 Declaration of Sharon Motley, # 4 Civil Cover Sheet, # 5 Receipt)(wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

1 Declaration of Lakendra Cook

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2 Declaration of Christopher Gray

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3 Declaration of Sharon Motley

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4 Civil Cover Sheet

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5 Receipt

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Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
2

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

1 Text of Proposed Order

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Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
3

BRIEF/MEMORANDUM in Support re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
4

MOTION for Class Certification by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

RECAP
5

MEMORANDUM of Law in Support re 4 MOTION for Class Certification filed by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
6

DECLARATION OF MICAH WEST in Support re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction, 4 MOTION for Class Certification, filed by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Exhibit H, # 9 Exhibit I, # 10 Exhibit J, # 11 Exhibit K, # 12 Exhibit L, # 13 Exhibit M, # 14 Exhibit N, # 15 Exhibit O, # 16 Exhibit P, # 17 Exhibit R, # 18 Exhibit S, # 19 Exhibit T, # 20 Exhibit U, # 21 Exhibit V, # 22 Exhibit W)(wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

1 Exhibit A

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2 Exhibit B

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3 Exhibit C

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4 Exhibit D

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5 Exhibit E

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6 Exhibit F

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7 Exhibit G

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8 Exhibit H

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9 Exhibit I

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10 Exhibit J

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11 Exhibit K

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12 Exhibit L

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13 Exhibit M

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14 Exhibit N

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15 Exhibit O

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16 Exhibit P

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17 Exhibit R

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18 Exhibit S

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19 Exhibit T

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20 Exhibit U

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21 Exhibit V

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22 Exhibit W

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Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
7

Summons Issued as to Hal Taylor and returned to counsel for personal service by process server. (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

Nov. 19, 2018

Nov. 19, 2018

PACER
8

Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement sent to Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley; Corporate Disclosures due by 12/3/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Attachment) (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/21/2018)

1 Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Attachment

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Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
9

Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Statement by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley re 8 Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement. (West, Micah) (Main Document 9 replaced on 11/21/2018) (wcl, ). Modified on 11/21/2018 to attach a corrected PDF document to reflect as filed on behalf of all plaintiffs (wcl, ). (Entered: 11/21/2018)

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
10

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Christopher Gray, Lakendra Cook, Sharon Motley. Hal Taylor served on 11/20/2018, answer due 12/11/2018. (West, Micah) (Entered: 11/21/2018)

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
11

NOTICE of Correction re 9 Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Statement, to attach a corrected PDF document to reflect as filed on behalf of all plaintiffs. (Attachments: # 1 Corrected Main PDF Document to Docket Entry 9 )(wcl, ) (Entered: 11/21/2018)

1 Corrected Main PDF Document to Docket Entry [9]

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Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
12

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction, 1 Complaint, 4 MOTION for Class Certification by Hal Taylor. (Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 11/29/2018)

Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER

Add and Terminate Attorneys

Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER

***PURSUANT TO THE 12 MOTION - Attorney Laura Elizabeth Howell for Hal Taylor added. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, )

Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER
13

Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement sent to Hal Taylor; Corporate Disclosures due by 12/10/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Attachment) (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/29/2018)

1 Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Attachment

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Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER
14

Corporate/Conflict Disclosure Statement by Hal Taylor re 13 Notice of Deficiency requiring filing of Corporate Disclosure/Conflict Statement. (Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 11/29/2018)

Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER
15

Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice for Danielle Davis (Filing fee $ 50.00 receipt number 4602051548.) by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Certificates of Good Standing, # 2 Text of Proposed Order, # 3 Receipt) (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/29/2018)

1 Exhibit A - Certificates of Good Standing

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2 Text of Proposed Order

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3 Receipt

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Nov. 29, 2018

Nov. 29, 2018

PACER
16

TEXT ORDER granting 15 Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice for Danielle Davis. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 11/30/2018. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 11/30/2018)

Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018

PACER
17

ORDER granting 12 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time as follows: (1) Dft shall file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint on or before 12/21/2018; (2) Dft shall file a response to the 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction on or before 12/21/2018; and (3) Plfs are permitted until 1/14/2019, to file a reply to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction; Plfs have also filed a 4 motion for class certification; A briefing order on that motion will be entered separately at a later date. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 12/3/2018. (wcl, ) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER
18

NOTICE of Appearance by Meridith Hamilton Barnes on behalf of Hal Taylor (Barnes, Meridith) (Main Document 18 replaced on 12/18/2018) (wcl, ). Modified on 12/18/2018 to attach the corrected PDF document to include the correct signature and service dates (wcl, ). (Entered: 12/18/2018)

Dec. 18, 2018

Dec. 18, 2018

PACER
19

NOTICE of Correction re 18 Notice of Appearance, to attach the corrected PDF document to include the correct signature and service dates. (Attachments: # 1 Corrected Main PDF Document to Docket Entry 18 )(wcl, ) (Entered: 12/18/2018)

1 Corrected Main PDF Document to Docket Entry [18]

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Dec. 18, 2018

Dec. 18, 2018

PACER
20

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM by Hal Taylor. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4)(Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 12/21/2018)

1 Exhibit 1

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2 Exhibit 2

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3 Exhibit 3

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4 Exhibit 4

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Dec. 21, 2018

Dec. 21, 2018

PACER

BRIEF/MEMORANDUM in Opposition

Dec. 21, 2018

Dec. 21, 2018

PACER
21

BRIEF/MEMORANDUM in Support re 20 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM and in Opposition re 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Hal Taylor. (Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 12/21/2018)

Dec. 21, 2018

Dec. 21, 2018

PACER

BRIEF/MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Hal Taylor. (No pdf attached to this entry - See doc 21 for pdf) (wcl, )

Dec. 21, 2018

Dec. 21, 2018

PACER
22

(RESPONSE to Motion) Consolidated Reply in Support re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction, and Response in Opposition re 20 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Lakendra Cook, Christopher Gray, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit of Micah West, # 2 Exhibit X, # 3 Exhibit Y, # 4 Exhibit Z)(West, Micah) Modified on 1/15/2019 to clarify the docket text (wcl, ). (Entered: 01/14/2019)

1 Affidavit of Micah West

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2 Exhibit X

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3 Exhibit Y

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4 Exhibit Z

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Jan. 14, 2019

Jan. 14, 2019

PACER
23

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal as to Christopher Gray by All Plaintiffs (West, Micah) Modified on 1/22/2019 to clarify the docket text (kr, ). (Entered: 01/18/2019)

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
24

CLERK'S NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal of Christopher Gray.(kr, ) (Entered: 01/22/2019)

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
25

Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss by Hal Taylor. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss)(Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 01/22/2019)

1 Exhibit Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss

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Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
26

TEXT ORDER granting 25 Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 1/23/2019. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 01/23/2019)

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER
27

REPLY to Response to Motion re 20 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Hal Taylor. (Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 01/23/2019)

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER
28

MOTION to Stay Discovery and All Rule 26 Obligations Pending a Ruling on Motion to Dismiss by Hal Taylor. (Chynoweth, Brad) (Entered: 01/24/2019)

Jan. 24, 2019

Jan. 24, 2019

PACER
29

TEXT ORDER: Upon consideration of Dft's 28 motion to stay discovery and all Rule 26 obligations pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss, it is ORDERED that Plfs respond to the motion on or before 2/1/2019. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 1/24/2019. (No pdf attached to this entry)(wcl, ) (Entered: 01/24/2019)

Jan. 24, 2019

Jan. 24, 2019

PACER
30

Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File Sur-Reply in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss by Lakendra Cook, Sharon Motley. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Proposed Sur-Reply in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss)(West, Micah) (Entered: 01/29/2019)

1 Exhibit Proposed Sur-Reply in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

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Jan. 29, 2019

Jan. 29, 2019

PACER
31

TEXT ORDER granting 30 Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply in Opposition to Dft's Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 1/30/2019. (No pdf attached to this entry) (wcl, ) (Entered: 01/30/2019)

Jan. 30, 2019

Jan. 30, 2019

PACER
32

SUR-REPLY BRIEF re 20 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, 22 Response to Motion, 27 REPLY to Response to Motion, filed by Lakendra Cook, Sharon Motley. (West, Micah) Modified on 1/30/2019 to clarify the docket text and to add the link to the 27 Reply (wcl, ). (Entered: 01/30/2019)

Jan. 30, 2019

Jan. 30, 2019

PACER
33

RESPONSE to Motion re 28 MOTION to Stay Discovery and All Rule 26 Obligations Pending a Ruling on Motion to Dismiss filed by Lakendra Cook, Sharon Motley. (West, Micah) (Entered: 02/01/2019)

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

PACER
34

ORDER: It is ORDERED: (1) Defendant's 28 motion to stay discovery and Rule 26 obligations pending a ruling on its motion to dismiss is GRANTED. (2) The parties' discovery and Rule 26 obligations are STAYED pending the court's ruling on Defendant's 20 motion to dismiss. Signed by Honorable Judge William Keith Watkins on 3/15/2019. (kr, ) (Entered: 03/15/2019)

March 15, 2019

March 15, 2019

RECAP
35

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: It is ORDERED: (1) Plaintiffs' 2 motion for a preliminary injunction is DENIED; (2) Plaintiffs' 4 motion for class certification is DENIED; (3) The State's 20 motion to dismiss is GRANTED; (4) This case is DISMISSED without prejudice. Signed by Honorable Judge William Keith Watkins on 5/1/2019. (kr, ) (Entered: 05/01/2019)

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

RECAP
36

FINAL JUDGMENT: it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT, and DECREE of the court that this action is DISMISSED without prejudice; DIRECTING the Clerk of the Court to enter this document on the civil docket as a final judgment pursuant to Rule 58 of the FRCP. Signed by Honorable Judge William Keith Watkins on 5/1/2019. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(kr, ) (Entered: 05/01/2019)

1 Civil Appeals Checklist

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May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

PACER

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: Nov. 19, 2018

Closing Date: May 1, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A putative class of individuals whose driver's licenses were suspended because they couldn't afford to pay their traffic tickets.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Poverty Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (Montgomery, Montgomery), State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Disparate Impact

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Poverty/homelessness