The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER REGARDING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT ON SPECIFIED CLAIMS AND CERTIFICATION OF CLAIMS FOR APPEAL (Document 94)
On April 28, 2009, Defendants County of Kern, Kern County Sheriff's Office, Donny Youngblood and Mack Wimbish filed the instant motion for entry of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). The matter was heard on June 26, 2009, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Barrett Litt and Paul Estuar appeared telephonically on behalf of Plaintiffs. Jennifer Thurston and Terence Cassidy appeared on behalf of Defendants.
Plaintiff Marsial Lopez, individually and as class representative, filed the instant civil rights action on March 27, 2007. On June 21, 2007, Plaintiffs Marsial Lopez, Sandra Chavez, and Theodore Medina, individually and as class representatives, filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") against Kern County, the Kern County Sheriff's Department, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood (officially and individually) and former Kern County Sheriff Mack Wimbish (individually). Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief and damages resulting from the strip and/or visual body cavity searches of prisoners by the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
The FAC contains six causes of action: (1) damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 premised on unreasonable searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; (2) damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 premised on violation Fourteenth Amendment equal protection guarantees; (3) violation of their equal protection rights pursuant to Article I, § 7 of the California Constitution and unreasonable search and seizure in violation of Article I, § 13 of the California Constitution; (4) damages pursuant to California Civil Code § 52.1(b) and § 52(b) premised on violations of their rights under the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, Article I, §§ 1, 7, 13 and 17 of the California Constitution, and California Penal Code § 4030; (5) violation of California Penal Code § 4030; and (6) violation of mandatory duties under California Government Code § 815.6.
On March 31, 2009, the Court issued an order on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. In its Order, the Court: (1) granted Plaintiffs summary judgment/adjudication as to KCSO's policy of group strip searching prisoners in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) granted Plaintiffs summary judgment/summary adjudication as to KCSO's policy of strip searching persons ordered released from custody in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (3) granted Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment/summary adjudication regarding violation of California Constitution, Article I, Section 1; (4) denied without prejudice Defendants' motion for summary adjudication regarding Plaintiffs' state law claims pursuant to California Civil Code section 52.1; (5) granted Defendants' motion for summary adjudication that Defendants Youngblood and Wimbish are entitled to qualified immunity regarding Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims specific to group strip searches; (6) denied Defendants' motion for summary adjudication that Defendants Youngblood and Wimbish are entitled to qualified immunity regarding the searches of detainees upon return from court appearances after they were ordered released; (7) denied Defendants' motion for summary adjudication against Plaintiffs' causes of action for § 1983 claims on the ground that the Sheriffs are state actors and are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity; and (8) denied Defendants' motion for summary adjudication as to § 1983 claims asserted against the County.
On April 1, 2009, the Court also granted Plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The Court certified the following classes:
Post-Release Class: Persons who, from March 27, 2005, up to October 1, 2007, or the time of judgment or settlement of the case: (a) were in KCSD custody; (b) were taken from jail to court; (c) became entitled to release after going to court; and (d) were strip and/or vbc searched before release pursuant to KCSD's blanket policy, practice and/or custom to strip/vbc search all court returns, including those entitled to release.
Group Strip Search Class: Persons who, from March 27, 2005, up to October 1, 2007, or the time of judgment or settlement of the case: (a) were in KCSD custody; (b) were subjected to a strip and/or vbc search in a group with other inmates also being strip/vbc searched, which search did not afford privacy from others; and (c) whose strip searches were conducted pursuant to KCSD's blanket policy, practice and/or custom to regularly conduct strip/vbc searches in a group setting.
On April 28, 2009, Defendants Sheriff Donny Youngblood and former Sheriff Mack Wimbish filed a notice of appeal as to the Court's determination that they were not entitled Eleventh Amendment immunity as to Plaintiffs' section 1983 claims. The appeal was processed to the Ninth Circuit on May 13, 2009, and has been assigned USCA Case Number 09-16006.
On April 28, 2009, Defendants County of Kern, Kern County Sheriff's Office, Donny Youngblood and Mack Wimbish also filed the instant motion for entry of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). Defendants move the Court to certify the following issues for immediate appeal: (1) whether the County of Kern may be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the policies of the Sheriff as they relate to operation of the jail; (2) whether strip searching inmates in groups violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (3) whether strip searching inmates in groups violated Section 1 of the California Constitution; and (4) whether strip searching inmates in groups forms an underlying basis for liability under California Civil Code section 52.1. Defendants applied for a stay as to the remaining issues. Defendants supported their motion with the declaration of counsel, Jennifer Thurston.
Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion on May 15, 2009, along with the declaration of counsel, Barrett Litt.
Defendants filed a reply on May 22, 2009. On that same date, Defendants filed a motion for certification of issues for immediate interlocutory review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292, for amendment of the Court's March 31, 2008, order and for a stay pending appeal. Similar to the Rule 54(b) motion, the motion for interlocutory review includes, but is not limited to the issue of the constitutionality of group strip searches of post-arraignment detainees and inmates under the Fourth Amendment and the issue of the County's status as a potentially improper party ...