Case: Public Counsel v. Presiding Judge, Superior Court of LA Cty

21-cv-05124 | California state trial court

Filed Date: Feb. 9, 2021

Closed Date: March 17, 2021

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: In this case, various attorneys filed a lawsuit to stop the Los Angeles Superior Courts from requiring in-person appearances for non-essential civil matters, like traffic and unlawful detainer matters. The plaintiffs filed a request for a temporary restraining order, but a month later filed a dismissal and the case is now closed. In late 2020, a group of attorneys wrote to the presiding judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, citing concerns with in-person appearanc…

COVID-19 Summary: In this case, various attorneys filed a lawsuit to stop the Los Angeles Superior Courts from requiring in-person appearances for non-essential civil matters, like traffic and unlawful detainer matters. The plaintiffs filed a request for a temporary restraining order, but a month later filed a dismissal and the case is now closed.


In late 2020, a group of attorneys wrote to the presiding judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, citing concerns with in-person appearance requirements. In response, the Chief Deputy of the Superior Court defended the choice to continue in-person, non-essential operations in the court. On January 29, 2021 the presiding judge extended an emergency continuance for criminal and juvenile dependency matters, citing a high number of COVID-19 cases in the county. Yet, in this same time period, individuals with traffic and unlawful detainer matters, were required to appear in person and the consequences for not appearing, were severe -- ranging from fines to driver's license suspensions and evictions for unlawful detainer orders.

In response, on February 9, 2021, attorneys at Public Counsel, Inner City Law Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek, and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, filed this lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiffs sued the presiding judge and the clerk of court of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, seeking to enjoin them from permitting and mandating in-person appearances in unlawful detainer and traffic matters. The plaintiffs cited various state law claims, including Public Nuisance, Dangerous Condition of Public Property, Equal Protection and Due Process in the California Constitution, and sought an injunction and declaratory relief that the defendants had violated the statutes and the California Constitution. They stated that the court facilities were built in a way that did not make it possible to social distance.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for temporary restraining order and and order to show cause regarding the preliminary injunction on February 18. The defendants filed their objection on February 22.

On March 15, the plaintiffs filed a request for dismissal.The same day, the defendant filed a demurrer. The court dismissed the action with prejudice on March 17, 2021 and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Caitlin Kierum (10/30/2021)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adler, Joanna (California)

Cameron-Banks, Indira (California)

Carnahan, Douglas G (California)

Eidmann, Kathryn A. (California)

Friley, Jesselyn (California)

Glenn, T.E. (California)

Lopez, Lorraine (California)

Miara, Jenna L (California)

Ocampo, Trinidad (California)

Pallack, David Scott (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adler, Joanna (California)

Cameron-Banks, Indira (California)

Carnahan, Douglas G (California)

Eidmann, Kathryn A. (California)

Friley, Jesselyn (California)

Glenn, T.E. (California)

Lopez, Lorraine (California)

Miara, Jenna L (California)

Ocampo, Trinidad (California)

Pallack, David Scott (California)

Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California)

Schultz, Barbara J (California)

Zuniga, Ana A (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

21-cv-05124

Docket

Public Council v. Presiding Judge

March 17, 2021

March 17, 2021

Docket

21-cv-05124

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Public Counsel v. Presiding Judge, Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Feb. 9, 2021

Feb. 9, 2021

Complaint

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 28, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 9, 2021

Closing Date: March 17, 2021

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Attorney organizations on behalf of themselves and their clients

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

Public Counsel

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles), County

Clerk of Court of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Equal Protection

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Courts

COVID-19:

Mitigation Denied

Mitigation Requested