Case: Brown v. City of Corinth

1:17-cv-00204 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: Dec. 5, 2017

Closed Date: July 6, 2021

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This was a case about excessive fines and fees. Plaintiffs were private citizens of Corinth, MS bringing a class action complaint against the City of Corinth and Municipal Court Judge John C. Ross. The action was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on December 5, 2017. Plaintiffs are represented by Southern Poverty Law Center and MacArthur Justice Center. The action was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 (The Declaratory Relief Act), and …

This was a case about excessive fines and fees. Plaintiffs were private citizens of Corinth, MS bringing a class action complaint against the City of Corinth and Municipal Court Judge John C. Ross. The action was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on December 5, 2017. Plaintiffs are represented by Southern Poverty Law Center and MacArthur Justice Center. The action was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 (The Declaratory Relief Act), and alleged violations of the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection rights, Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and Fourth Amendment right to timely probable cause determination. The case was assigned to Judge Debra M. Brown and Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders.

In the complaint, plaintiffs alleged they were arrested and held in jail because they could not pay the bond required. The city's policies did not inquire into the detainee’s finances, resulting in alleged systematic wealth-based detention. The city had a once-weekly municipal court date, which could result in detainees being held up to ten days before their initial hearing. Finally, they alleged the judge did not review financial conditions of release and jailed or threatened to jail individuals who could not pay fines or court costs. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief that the City of Corinth had violated the class members’ rights under the Fourth, Sixth, or Fourteenth Amendments, sought injunctive relief to prevent the city from detaining any members of the class because they could not afford bail, and for the city to make a probable cause determination within 48 hours of an arrest. Simultaneous with the complaint, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction.

The plaintiffs also sought class certification of three separate classes, distinguished by the legal issues at stake. The Bail Class was based on the questions of if defendants have a policy or practice of detaining individuals who cannot pay the amount required by the bail schedule and if this bail schedule is predetermined, and whether these policies violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. The Probable Cause Class was based on the defendant’s policy and practice of holding municipal court once a week, and whether this violated the Fourth Amendment. The Pay-or-Stay Class was based on the defendant’s practice of not assessing alternatives to jailing for nonpayment and not evaluating the ability to pay, and if these violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment.

On April 25, 2018 the parties filed a settlement agreement with the court which provided that the city would implement the procedures contained in the Corinth Municipal Court Procedures, as well as a plan for dissemination of procedures and training. The procedures required the initial hearing to take place within 48 hours of the arrest, prohibited jailing only because of inability to pay bail or fines, and required the judge to evaluate the individual’s ability to pay bail. The settlement was to be enforced by the court for three years, and the case dismissed. Judge Brown granted the settlement on July 6, 2018 and there have been no further docket entries; the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Misha Emanoil (2/3/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6376641/parties/brown-v-city-of-corinth/

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:17-cv-00204

Class Action Complaint

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

Complaint
26-2

1:17-cv-00204

Exhibit B

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Statute/Ordinance/Regulation
26-1

Stipulated Settlement Agreement

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Settlement Agreement
26

1:17-cv-00204

Joint Motion to Approve Stipulated Settlement Agreement, Retain Jurisdiction to Enforce the Agreement, and Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(ii)

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
26-2

Corinth Municipal Court Procedures for Appointment of Counsel, Bail, Fines, and Court Costs, and Community Service

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Settlement Agreement
26-1

1:17-cv-00204

Stipulated Settlement Agreement

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6376641/brown-v-city-of-corinth/

Last updated June 9, 2022, 3:07 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

Notice of Assignment

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
1

COMPLAINT, Filing fee $ 400, receipt number MSN100002842, filed by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

Clearinghouse
2

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
3

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
4

EXHIBIT re 3 Memorandum in Support re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Inujunction. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Part 2) (cr) Modified on 12/6/2017 (jla).

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
5

MOTION for Class Certification by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
6

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 5 MOTION for Class Certification. (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
7

EXHIBIT re 3 MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction. (cr) Modified on 12/6/2017 (jla).

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER

NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT. Case assigned to Judge Debra M. Brown and Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders. (cr)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
8

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Samuel J. Brooke on behalf of Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell John C. Ross served on 12/6/2017. (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 6, 2017

Dec. 6, 2017

PACER
9

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Samuel J. Brooke on behalf of Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell City of Corinth served on 12/6/2017. (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 6, 2017

Dec. 6, 2017

PACER
10

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Jody Edward Owens, II on behalf of Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell (Owens, Jody)

Dec. 12, 2017

Dec. 12, 2017

PACER
11

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Elissa Francis Ediri Johnson on behalf of Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell (Johnson, Elissa)

Dec. 12, 2017

Dec. 12, 2017

PACER
12

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Samuel J. Brooke on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 12, 2017

Dec. 12, 2017

PACER
13

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Jacob W. Howard on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Howard, Jacob)

Dec. 12, 2017

Dec. 12, 2017

PACER
14

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; Attorney Micah West,(Paid $100 PHV fee; receipt number 0537-1502580) by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (Attachments: # 1 Supplement - Application for Admission, # 2 Supplement - Certificate of Good Standing) (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 14, 2017

Dec. 14, 2017

PACER
15

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; Attorney Alexandra Jordan,(Paid $100 PHV fee; receipt number 0537-1502581) by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (Attachments: # 1 Supplement - Application for Admission, # 2 Supplement - Certificate of Good Standing) (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 14, 2017

Dec. 14, 2017

PACER
16

ORDER granting 15 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice; Attorney Alexandra Jordan. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 12/18/17. (jcm)

Dec. 18, 2017

Dec. 18, 2017

PACER

TEXT ORDER. Defendants granted to January 5, 2018 in which to file answers or other responsive pleadings. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 12/21/17. No document attached or to follow. (def)

Dec. 21, 2017

Dec. 21, 2017

PACER

Order

Dec. 21, 2017

Dec. 21, 2017

PACER
17

Joint MOTION to Stay Proceedings by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Joint Interim Agreement) (Johnson, Cliff)

Dec. 21, 2017

Dec. 21, 2017

PACER
18

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Wendell H. Trapp, Jr on behalf of City of Corinth and John C. Ross (Trapp, Wendell)

Dec. 22, 2017

Dec. 22, 2017

PACER
19

EXHIBIT re 14 MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; Attorney Micah West,(Paid $100 PHV fee; receipt number 0537-1502580) . (Brooke, Samuel)

Dec. 27, 2017

Dec. 27, 2017

PACER
20

ORDER granting 14 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice; Attorney Micah West. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 1/2/18. (jcm)

Jan. 2, 2018

Jan. 2, 2018

PACER
21

ORDER granting 17 Motion to Stay Proceedings. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 1/2/17. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Interim Agreement) (def)

Jan. 2, 2018

Jan. 2, 2018

PACER
22

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by City of Corinth. (Trapp, Wendell)

March 6, 2018

March 6, 2018

PACER
23

ORDER granting 22 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendants' answer due 4/5/18. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 3/6/18. (jcm)

March 6, 2018

March 6, 2018

PACER
24

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by City of Corinth. (Trapp, Wendell)

April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018

PACER
25

ORDER granting 24 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer All Defendants Answer due 4/25/18. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 4/6/18. (jcm)

April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018

PACER
26

Joint MOTION for Settlement Agreement Approval, Retain Jurisdiction to Enforce the Agreement, and Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) by Sammy Brown, Brian Keith Howell. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B) (Johnson, Cliff)

1 Exhibit A

View on RECAP

2 Exhibit B

View on RECAP

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018

Clearinghouse
27

ORDER granting 26 Motion for Settlement; DISMISSING case. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 7/6/18. (jla)

July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Criminal Justice (Other)

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 5, 2017

Closing Date: July 6, 2021

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Two individuals, on behalf of a putative class, who were held in jail because they could not pay the required bond

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

MacArthur Justice Center

Southern Poverty Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

City of Corinth (Corinth, Alcorn), City

Municipal Court Judge of Corinth Municipal Court, City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

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

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Over/Unlawful Detention

Placement in detention facilities

Poverty/homelessness