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Case Name Mohrbacher v. Alameda County Sheriffs Office JC-CA-0142
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-00050 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Case Summary
On January 4, 2018, six women prisoners filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging systematic, misogynistic mistreatment of women prisoners at the Alameda County Jail in Santa Rita, California. The plaintiffs sued Alameda County and the Alameda ... read more >
On January 4, 2018, six women prisoners filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging systematic, misogynistic mistreatment of women prisoners at the Alameda County Jail in Santa Rita, California. The plaintiffs sued Alameda County and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violations of their rights under the U.S. Constitution and state law. Represented by private counsel, they sought monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that pregnant women prisoners were denied medical attention and other accommodations including weather-appropriate clothing, nutritious food, feminine hygiene products, and fresh air. The specific conduct targeted toward pregnant women took place within an environment marked by general hostility toward women prisoners and indifference to women’s medical and hygienic needs. Further, the complaint alleged that the Alameda County Jail systematically discriminated against the women prisoners, compared to men prisoners, in access to reasonable facilities and services. In the complaint, the women prisoners sought recognition of class certification consisting of a main class of women prisoners with a sub-class of pregnant prisoners. The plaintiffs claimed that the conduct of the Alameda County Jail staff violated women prisoners’ rights protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

On the same day that the initial complaint was filed, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent further harm to the pregnant plaintiffs. The women prisoners also sought relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees for the litigation. The case proceeded before Judge James Donato.

On April 12, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. The plaintiffs elaborated on the allegations in the original complaint of the mistreatment against pregnant women prisoners and discrimination against women prisoners in general. The second amended complaint also added additional causes of action under California state law. The second amended complaint delineated the named plaintiffs into various groups: current women prisoners, women who were formerly imprisoned, pregnant prisoners currently in custody, and formerly pregnant prisoners who suffered a miscarriage due to mistreatment while in custody. The complaint also identified additional named defendants beyond the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and individuals employed therein, including the California Forensic Medical Group, retained to provide medical services to prisoners and Aramark Correctional Services, a for-profit food services provider at the Jail.

The amended complaint also amended the relief sought by the women prisoners. The plaintiffs requested that the court certify the plaintiff class of women prisoners and the subclass of pregnant women prisoners, and that the court issue emergency remedy, by decree, to ensure that the women prisoners receive the medical care and other accommodations they needed to be safe while in custody at the Alameda County Jail. Finally, in addition to the injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages requested in the original complaint, the plaintiffs requested that the court affirmatively direct the defendants to fully comply with all state statutes and regulations regarding medical treatment, nutrition, activities, and personal hygiene for women prisoners.

On December 31, 2018, one named plaintiff moved to relate the case to Upshaw v. County of Alameda. The parties began engaging in settlement negotiations and entered an agreement in principle on May 14, 2018. Settlement proceedings were heard by Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler. The parties initially agreed to resolve money damages and other substantive relief and the plaintiffs agreed to withdraw the motion for class certification. The parties held a number of settlement conferences between May 14, 2018 and December 12, 2019.

On May 7, 2019, one named plaintiff moved to relate the case to Gonzalez v. Ahern. Though opposed by the defendants, on May 15, 2020, the court related this case to Gonzalez v. Ahern. For further information, refer to the Clearinghouse page, available at this link.

Rebecca Fisher - 10/05/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Abortion
Administrative segregation
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Medication, administration of
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
State law
Defendant(s) Alameda County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Women prisoners, including pregnant women, at Alameda County Jail
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 01/04/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing JC-CA-0137 : Gonzalez v. Ahern (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
N.D. Cal.
05/15/2020
3:18-cv-00050-JD
JC-CA-0142-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Cal.
01/04/2018
Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0142-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
02/01/2018
First Amended Relief for Injunctive Relief and Damages for Violation of Civil Rights and Other Wrongs [ECF# 18]
JC-CA-0142-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
04/12/2018
Second Amended Relief for Injunctive Relief and Damages for Violation of Civil Rights and Other Wrongs [ECF# 72]
JC-CA-0142-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
03/14/2019
Plaintiffs' Proposal to Terminate Mediation and for Consolidation with Upshaw et al. vs. Alameda County [ECF# 133]
JC-CA-0142-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
05/15/2020
Related Case Order [ECF# 164]
JC-CA-0142-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Beeler, Laurel (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Donato, James (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cunningham, Dennis (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-0001 | JC-CA-0142-0002 | JC-CA-0142-0003 | JC-CA-0142-0004 | JC-CA-0142-9000
Huang, Yolanda (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-0001 | JC-CA-0142-0002 | JC-CA-0142-0003 | JC-CA-0142-0004 | JC-CA-0142-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bertling, Peter George (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Krieger, Lynn L (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Peters, Temitayo O. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Rector, Thomas Ailbe (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Sargizian, Mikouya (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Shapiro, Susan P (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000
Thomas, Gregory B. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0142-9000

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