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Case Name Pederson v. County of Plumas JC-CA-0075
Docket / Court 2:89-cv-01659-JFM ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection California Jail Population Caps
Attorney Organization Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
Prisoners Rights Union
Case Summary
On December 4, 1989, detainees at the Plumas County Jail filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Plumas. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 198 ... read more >
On December 4, 1989, detainees at the Plumas County Jail filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Plumas. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. Specifically, they alleged problems with overcrowding, unequal access to programs and work opportunities for women detainees, lack of exercise, inadequate access to medical, dental and mental health treatment, lack of law library access, and lack of adequate visiting time and other contact with people in the outside world, and claimed that these problems constituted violations of the First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

The PACER docket begins on September 12, 1990, when the Court (Judge Lawrence K. Karlton) ordered the County not to hold any warrantless arrestee who had not been provided with a determination of probable cause before a judge within 36 hours of his or her arrest.

There are several multiple-month gaps between entries over the following two years, but the principal developments are clear. On January 21, 1992, the Court (Judge John F. Moulds) certified the proposed class of detainees, and on February 10, the parties submitted a consent decree for the Court's approval. Under the terms of the decree, the County agreed to maintain all housing units at the jail at or below their rated capacities; to provide detainees with sufficient storage space for their personal belongings and with adequate clothing and food; to allow detainees one hour of exercise per day five days a week; to provide regular access to adequate medical, dental, and mental health care services; to allow visits of at least a half an hour each at least two days per week; to provide women detainees with equal access to programs and work opportunities and to always have at least one female guard working each shift; to provide prompt physical access to the law library; to provide access to a pay phone, a television and non-legal reading material; and to allow inspection by the fire marshal and comply with any recommendations the fire marshal makes. The County also agreed to develop, implement and make known to the detainee rules of conduct, a grievance procedure, disciplinary procedures, and visitation policies and procedures. Finally, the County agreed to allow plaintiffs' counsel to make reasonable inspections to ascertain its compliance with the decree.

The Court (Judge Moulds) approved the consent decree on April 21, 1992, and ordered the County to pay the plaintiffs $65,000 in attorneys' fees on June 12, 1992.

Since the decree was entered, several detainees at the jail, representing themselves, have petitioned the Court for enforcement of the decree, most recently in 2006. Each time, the Court has directed them to contact plaintiffs' counsel to seek enforcement. No action has been taken on these petitions, though on April 1, 2013, the Court signed a joint stipulation modifying the consent decree as to the population cap and staffing provisions.

On March 27, 2015, plaintiffs filed a request for a status conference, alleging noncompliance with the Consent Decree. On April 17, 2015, the Court (Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman) ordered the County to file a response two weeks later, "setting forth the status of compliance with the Consent Decree." After the County filed its response, the Court found that the defendants might not be in compliance with the sections of the Consent Decree addressing mental health care and the law library. In June 2015, the parties attended a settlement conference, where they discussed ongoing deficiencies in compliance with the Consent Decree. The parties provided status reports to the Court for several months.

On October 28, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the Consent Decree after reaching an impasse regarding one particular provision: the agreement to provide prosthetic dentures to detainees. On November 23, 2016, the County filed a motion to modify the consent decree so that dentures would be provided to detainees based solely on the standard of “medical necessity,” rather than the to allow detainees to eat solid food. Following these motions, the parties met over a series of months to discuss the denture policy.

On October 9, 2018, the parties submitted a joint status report to the court. Although the plaintiffs observed progress by the County and did not observe violations of the Consent Decree upon their most recent visit, they did note several concerns related to staffing, the law library, nursing, medical care, mental health care, and dental care. On October 15, 2018, the parties engaged in another settlement conference. The Court ordered the County to submit a report addressing the status of its compliance with the Consent Decree and scheduled a status conference for February 22, 2019.

The joint status report was submitted on February 15, 2019. At the February 22, 2019 status conference, the court ordered that "By noon on 4/26/2019, the County is to provide a detailed report to the Court and plaintiff's counsel, regarding its compliance with outstanding issues in this litigation as well as steps toward IMQ or NCCHC accreditation."

On May 29, 2019, Judge Newman issued orders detailing that: (1) the County must apply for NCCHC accreditation on or before January 2020; (2) Plaintiff’s counsel must submit a proposal for the length of a monitoring period under an amended consent decree within 60 days; and (3) the County must pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

Nothing was reported in the docket until January 29, 2020 when both parties submitted a new Joint Status Report requesting a postponement of the status meeting because the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented the NCCHC accreditation team from visiting the jail. The status meeting was postponed until May 29, 2020; then again on May 26, 2020 until September 18, 2020; and then again on September 17, 2020 until December 12, 2020.

As of October 13, 2020, the case is ongoing.

Christopher Schad - 07/11/2012
Maurice Youkanna - 07/05/2014
- 04/24/2015
Eva Richardson - 02/04/2019
Raul Noguera-McElroy - 04/19/2019
Jack Kanarek - 10/23/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Sex discrimination
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Grievance Procedures
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Plumas
Plaintiff Description Detainees at the Plumas County jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
Prisoners Rights Union
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1992 - n/a
Filed 12/04/1989
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
E.D. Cal.
JC-CA-0075-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Cal.
Consent Decree
JC-CA-0075-0001.pdf | Detail
E.D. Cal.
Joint Stipulation to Amendment of Consent Decree [ECF# 48]
JC-CA-0075-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Plaintiffs' Request for Status Conference [Includes declarations on compliance] [ECF# 49]
JC-CA-0075-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
Order [directing Defendants to report on compliance] [ECF# 52]
JC-CA-0075-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Karlton, Lawrence K. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
Moulds, John F. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Newman, Kendall J (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0002 | JC-CA-0075-0004 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bishop, Jordyn Ashley (California) show/hide docs
Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0002 | JC-CA-0075-0003 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Ellis, Lincoln Wolf (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0003 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Herman, Richard P. (California) show/hide docs
Jackson, Michael Bruce (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0002 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Persons, Paul Turner (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0001 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Piovia-Scott, Joshua (California) show/hide docs
Rifkin, Lori Ellen (California) show/hide docs
Stormer, Dan Lewis (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0002 | JC-CA-0075-0003 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Tajsar, Mohammad K. (California) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Jamison, Michael S. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0075-0001 | JC-CA-0075-9000
Mansell, Stephen Leo (California) show/hide docs
Settlemire, Richard Craig (California) show/hide docs

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