Case: Bairefoot v. Beaufort

9:17-cv-02759 | U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina

Filed Date: Oct. 11, 2017

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 11, 2017, three indigent defendants convicted and sentenced to incarceration without the assistance of counsel filed this putative class action, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Beaufort and the Town of Bluffton. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ policy, practice, and custom of denying counsel to indigent defendants in municipal courts violated their rights to counsel, equal protection, and procedural …

On October 11, 2017, three indigent defendants convicted and sentenced to incarceration without the assistance of counsel filed this putative class action, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Beaufort and the Town of Bluffton. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ policy, practice, and custom of denying counsel to indigent defendants in municipal courts violated their rights to counsel, equal protection, and procedural due process under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants failed to contract with the Fourteenth Circuit Public Defender, Beaufort County Public Defender’s Office, or private attorneys for the provision of indigent defense in municipal courts and also failed to advise the plaintiffs of their rights to counsel. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (both the South Carolina affiliate and the national Criminal Law Reform Project), sought monetary damages to compensate for their wrongful confinement and additional injuries, including physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of income.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs also sought class certification for all indigent individuals incarcerated in jail or prison upon conviction in Beaufort and Bluffton municipal courts without having been afforded their right to appointed counsel and advised of their right to appointed counsel, and who could not have sought habeas relief while in custody due to the brief period of actual confinement.

The case was assigned to Judge Richard Gergel.

On December 13, 2017, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The dismissal motion was based on three grounds: 1) the defendants, both of which are municipalities, had no authority under state law or duty under federal law to ensure that the plaintiffs were provided with counsel; 2) failure to make appropriation for appointed counsel under state law does not give rise to a federal cause of action; 3) the plaintiff’s claims were barred for lack of causation because a municipal judge was able to appoint counsel for indigent persons; and 4) the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the principles set forth in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.

On May 16, 2018, Judge Gergel denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss and ruled that: 1) the defendants were required to provide counsel for the plaintiffs pursuant to Proviso 61.12 to the South Carolina 2017-2018 Appropriations Act, requiring the defendants to provide “adequate funds for representation of indigents;” 2) defendants’ failure to provide counsel for the plaintiffs is actionable under federal law due to violation of the Sixth Amendment; 3) it was foreseeable that the defendants’ failure to provide for indigent defense would result in a violation of the Sixth Amendment despite the ability of municipal judges to provide representation, among others.

The case entered mediation, and on July 16, 2018, the Mediator (Judge Dutty) informed the court that the parties were making constructive progress in their settlement negotiations and requested a stay of the scheduling order. Judge Gergel granted the motion to stay.

On September 27, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a consent motion for settlement, to resolve the plaintiffs’ claims for relief without certification of a settlement class. The settlement agreement stipulated the following agreements among the parties:

1. Mutual recognition of principles: the defendants shall not deprive indigent people of their constitutional right to counsel.

2. Policies and practices: the defendants will contract with the 14th Circuit Public Defender’s Office to provide defense attorneys in municipal court for indigent defendants facing possible incarceration; the defendants will appropriate sufficient funding to engage the Public Defender Office for legal service to indigent defendants; waiver of the right to counsel by indigent defendants must be made voluntarily, intelligently, and with full knowledge of the consequences.

3. Publication and dissemination of procedures: the defendant will publish and disseminate all policies, procedures, and guidelines to affect this agreement to all people involved in indigent defense and the public.

4. Training: municipals courts, public defenders, police officers, and other people who may process requests for counsel shall participate in training on the issue of right to counsel.

5. Payment: the defendants will pay a one-time total of $250,000 for all damages, attorneys’ fees, and expense.

6. Term & enforcement: the defendants shall comply with the agreement for 4 years, during which time the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina shall retain jurisdiction over the lawsuit.

Judge Gergel granted the settlement agreement on October 7, 2019; it was to be enforced for four years, until 2023.

The case is therefore open for enforcement of the agreement.

Summary Authors

Sichun Liu (2/23/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6741513/parties/bairefoot-v-beaufort-south-carolina-city-of/


Judge(s)

Gergel, Richard Mark (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Andrews, Stuart M Jr, (South Carolina)

Carter, Twyla (New York)

Dunn, Susan K. (South Carolina)

Edwards, Ezekiel (New York)

Gimenez, Caroline (South Carolina)

Smith, Benjamin Rush (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Davidson, William Henry II (South Carolina)

Woodington, Kenneth P. (South Carolina)

Judge(s)

Gergel, Richard Mark (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Andrews, Stuart M Jr, (South Carolina)

Carter, Twyla (New York)

Dunn, Susan K. (South Carolina)

Edwards, Ezekiel (New York)

Gimenez, Caroline (South Carolina)

Smith, Benjamin Rush (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Davidson, William Henry II (South Carolina)

Woodington, Kenneth P. (South Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Bairefoot et al v. Beaufort South Carolina

Oct. 7, 2019 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

Bairefoot v. City of Beaufort

Oct. 11, 2017 Complaint
33

Order and Opinion

Bairefoot v. City of Beaufort

312 F.Supp.3d 503

May 16, 2018 Order/Opinion
45

Court Order

Bairefoot v. City of Beaufort

Oct. 7, 2019 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6741513/bairefoot-v-beaufort-south-carolina-city-of/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0420-7404633.), filed by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson. Service due by 1/9/2018(sshe, ) (Entered: 10/12/2017)

Oct. 11, 2017 PACER
2

Local Rule 26.01 Answers to Interrogatories by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson.(sshe, ) (Entered: 10/12/2017)

Oct. 11, 2017 PACER
3

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. (sshe, ) (Entered: 10/12/2017)

Oct. 11, 2017 PACER
5

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Ezekiel Edwards ( Filing fee $ 250 receipt number 0420-7417785) by Tina Renee Bairefoot. Response to Motion due by 11/1/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit PHV application for Edwards, # 2 Exhibit Certificate of Good Standing)Proposed order is being emailed to chambers with copy to opposing counsel.(Dunn, Susan) (Entered: 10/18/2017)

1 Affidavit PHV application for Edwards

View on RECAP

2 Exhibit Certificate of Good Standing

View on RECAP

Oct. 18, 2017 RECAP
6

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Twyla Carter ( Filing fee $ 250 receipt number 0420-7417786) by Tina Renee Bairefoot. Response to Motion due by 11/1/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit PHV application for Carter, # 2 Exhibit Certificate of Good Standing Carter)Proposed order is being emailed to chambers with copy to opposing counsel.(Dunn, Susan) (Entered: 10/18/2017)

1 Affidavit PHV application for Carter

View on RECAP

2 Exhibit Certificate of Good Standing Carter

View on RECAP

Oct. 18, 2017 PACER
7

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. Response to Motion due by 11/7/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 10/24/2017)

Oct. 24, 2017 PACER
8

TEXT ORDER granting 7 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. All Defendants answers are due 12/6/17. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 10/25/17.(ltap, ) (Entered: 10/25/2017)

Oct. 25, 2017 PACER
9

ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE OF COMPLAINT by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson. All Defendants. (Attachments: # 1 Supporting Documents 2017.10.16 Acceptance of Service - City of Beaufort by William Harvey, # 2 Supporting Documents 2017.10.17 Acceptance of Service - Town of Bluffton by Terry Finger)(Smith, Benjamin) (Entered: 10/25/2017)

1 Supporting Documents 2017.10.16 Acceptance of Service - City of Beaufort by Will

View on RECAP

2 Supporting Documents 2017.10.17 Acceptance of Service - Town of Bluffton by Terr

View on RECAP

Oct. 25, 2017 RECAP
10

ORDER granting 5 Motion for Ezekiel Edwards to Appear Pro Hac Vice for Tina Renee Bairefoot; granting 6 Motion for Twyla Carter to Appear Pro Hac Vice for Tina Renee Bairefoot. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 10/26/2017.(sshe, ) (Entered: 10/26/2017)

Oct. 26, 2017 PACER
12

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint (Second motion) by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. Response to Motion due by 12/11/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/27/2017)

Nov. 27, 2017 PACER
13

TEXT ORDER : For good cause shown, the time for Defendants to answer or otherwise plead is extended to 12/15/17. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 12/4/17.(ltap, ) (Entered: 12/04/2017)

Dec. 4, 2017 PACER
14

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. Response to Motion due by 12/27/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. (Attachments: # 1 Memo in Support)No proposed order.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/13/2017)

1 Memo in Support

View on PACER

Dec. 13, 2017 PACER
15

Local Rule 26.01 Answers to Interrogatories by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/13/2017)

Dec. 13, 2017 PACER
16

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time for filing by Plaintiffs of a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson. Response to Motion due by 1/4/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Smith, Benjamin) (Entered: 12/21/2017)

Dec. 21, 2017 PACER
17

TEXT ORDER granting 16 Motion for Extension of Time to file Response to 14 Motion to Dismiss. Response must be filed on or before January 22, 2018. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 12/21/17.(ltap, ) (Entered: 12/21/2017)

Dec. 21, 2017 PACER
18

MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson. Response to Motion due by 2/5/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Smith, Benjamin) (Entered: 01/22/2018)

Jan. 22, 2018 PACER
19

RESPONSE in Opposition re 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM Response filed by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson.Reply to Response to Motion due by 1/29/2018 Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6. (Smith, Benjamin) (Entered: 01/22/2018)

Jan. 22, 2018 PACER
20

TEXT ORDER granting 18 Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 1/23/18.(ltap, ) (Entered: 01/23/2018)

Jan. 23, 2018 PACER
21

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 19 Response in Opposition to Motion, by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. Response to Motion due by 2/8/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/25/2018)

Jan. 25, 2018 PACER
22

TEXT ORDER granting 21 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Replies due by 2/5/2018. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 1/25/18.(ltap, ) (Entered: 01/25/2018)

Jan. 25, 2018 PACER
23

NOTICE of Hearing on 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : Motion Hearing set for 3/13/2018 at 10:00 AM in J. Waties Waring Judicial Cntr, 83 Meeting St, Charleston, Courtroom TBD before Honorable Richard M Gergel. (ltap, ) (Entered: 02/01/2018)

Feb. 1, 2018 PACER
24

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, 19 Response in Opposition to Motion, by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. Response to Motion due by 2/16/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 02/02/2018)

Feb. 2, 2018 PACER
25

TEXT ORDER granting 24 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Response to Motion due by 2/12/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the direction of the Honorable Richard M Gergel on 2/2/18.(ltap, ) (Entered: 02/02/2018)

Feb. 2, 2018 PACER
26

REPLY to Response to Motion re 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM Response filed by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of. (Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 02/12/2018)

Feb. 12, 2018 PACER
27

MOTION to Continue Hearing by Tina Renee Bairefoot, Nathan Lee Fox, Dae'Quandrea Trevell Nelson. Response to Motion due by 3/23/2018. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Smith, Benjamin) (Entered: 03/09/2018)

March 9, 2018 PACER
28

TEXT ORDER granting 27 Motion to Continue Hearing. Plaintiff has moved for a continuance of the hearing on Defendants' motion to dismiss because of a sudden family illness. (Dkt. No. 27). Defendants have consented to the continuance. For good cause shown, the continuance is granted. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 03/09/2018. (egra, ) (Entered: 03/09/2018)

March 9, 2018 PACER
29

NOTICE of Cancellation of Hearing: on 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : Motion Hearing set for 3/13/2018 at 10:00 AM in J. Waties Waring Judicial Cntr, 83 Meeting St, Charleston, Courtroom TBD before Honorable Richard M Gergel. (egra, ) (Entered: 03/09/2018)

March 9, 2018 PACER
30

NOTICE of Hearing on 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : Motion Hearing set for 4/9/2018 at 10:00 AM in Charleston Courtroom #1, J. Waties Waring Judicial Center, 83 Meeting St, Charleston before Honorable Richard M Gergel. (ltap, ) (Entered: 03/12/2018)

March 12, 2018 PACER
31

Minute Entry. Proceedings held before Honorable Richard M Gergel: Motion Hearing held on 4/9/2018 re 14 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM. Court to issue an order. Court Reporter Tana Hess. (erav, ) (Entered: 04/09/2018)

April 9, 2018 PACER
32

NOTICE OF FILING OF OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT of Proceedings. Motion to Dismiss held on April 9, 2018, before Judge Richard M. Gergel. Court Reporter/Transcriber Tana J. Hess, Telephone number/E-mail tana_hess@scd.uscourts.gov 843.779.0837. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. Parties have 7 calendar days from the filing of the transcript to file with the court a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction.. Redaction Request due 5/15/2018. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 5/25/2018. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 7/23/2018. (thes, ) (Entered: 04/24/2018)

April 24, 2018 PACER
33

ORDER AND OPINION denying 14 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 5/16/2018.(sshe, ) (Entered: 05/16/2018)

May 16, 2018 RECAP
34

ANSWER to 1 Complaint by Beaufort South Carolina, City of, Bluffton South Carolina, Town of.(Woodington, Kenneth) (Entered: 06/14/2018)

June 14, 2018 PACER
35

SCHEDULING ORDER Rule 26(f) Conference Deadline 7/5/2018, 26(a) Initial Disclosures due by 7/19/2018, Rule 26 Report due by 7/19/2018, Motions to Amend Pleadings due by 9/12/2018, Plaintiffs ID of Expert Witness due by 10/12/2018, Defendants ID of Expert Witnesses Due by 11/13/2018, Records Custodian Affidavit due by 11/19/2018, Discovery due by 12/11/2018, Motion in Limine due by 15 business days prior to jury selection, Motions due by 12/27/2018, Rule 26(a)(3) Disclosures due by 21 business days prior to jury selection, Pretrial Briefs due by 5 business days prior to jury selection, Case ready for Jury Selection and/or Trial Deadline on or after 4/1/2019 Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 6/14/2018. (sshe, ) (Entered: 06/14/2018)

June 14, 2018 PACER
36

TEXT ORDER The Court has been advised by Judge Duffy, serving as the mediator in this matter, that the parties are making constructive progress in their settlement negotiations and request the Court stay the present scheduling order while the parties devote their efforts to fashioning a settlement that meets state and federal legal requirements. For good cause shown, the motion to stay is granted. The parties are directed to file a joint report every 60 days from this date concerning the status of the case and to promptly advise the Court if a proposed settlement has been reached. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Entered at the Direction of Honorable Richard M Gergel on 7/16/2018. (sshe, ) (Entered: 07/17/2018)

July 16, 2018 PACER
41

ORDER DISMISSING CASE without costs and without prejudice to the right of either party, upon good cause shown within sixty (60) days, to reinstate the action if settlement is not consummated. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 7/9/2019. (sshe, ) (Entered: 07/09/2019)

July 9, 2019 PACER
42

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Consumate Settlement by Tina Renee Bairefoot. Response to Motion due by 9/20/2019. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. No proposed order.(Dunn, Susan) (Entered: 09/06/2019)

Sept. 6, 2019 PACER
43

TEXT ORDER The Court GRANTS the Consent Motion for an Extension (Dkt. No. 42 ) and EXTENDS the time to consummate settlement through September 27, 2019. Except for this extension of time, the Order of Dismissal (Dkt. No. 41) is not otherwise amended or changed. AND IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 9/9/2019.(sshe, ) (Entered: 09/09/2019)

Sept. 9, 2019 PACER
44

Consent MOTION for Settlement by Tina Renee Bairefoot. Response to Motion due by 10/11/2019. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. Proposed order is being emailed to chambers with copy to opposing counsel.(Dunn, Susan) (Entered: 09/27/2019)

Sept. 27, 2019 PACER
45

ORDER granting 44 Motion for Settlement Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 10/7/2019.(sshe, ) (Entered: 10/07/2019)

Oct. 7, 2019 PACER

State / Territory: South Carolina

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 11, 2017

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Indigent individuals who were incarcerated in jail or prison upon conviction in Beaufort and Bluffton municipal courts without having been afforded their right to appointed counsel and advised of their right to appointed counsel, and who could not have sought habeas relief while in custody due to the brief period of actual confinement.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Beaufort (Beaufort), City

Town of Bluffton (Beaufort), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 250,000

Order Duration: 2019 - 2023

Content of Injunction:

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reporting

Monitoring

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Training

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Fetus Identity

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system