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Thomas v. Baca

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 19, 2014

S.A. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
LEROY BACA, MICHAEL ANTONOVICH, YVONNE BURKE, DEANE DANA, DON KNABE, GLORIA MOLINA, ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, Defendants

For S A Thomas, Plaintiff: Gary L Bostwick, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gary Bostwick Law Offices, Los Angeles, CA; Marion R Yagman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Joseph Reichmann, Yagman and Reichmann, Venice Beach, CA.

For E L Gipson, Plaintiff: Gary L Bostwick, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gary Bostwick Law Offices, Los Angeles, CA; Joseph Reichmann, Marion R Yagman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Yagman and Reichmann, Venice Beach, CA.

For ACLU Foundation of Southern California, interested party, Movant: Barrett S Litt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kaye McLane Bednarski and Litt, Pasadena, CA; Mark D Rosenbaum, LEAD ATTORNEY, Public Counsel, Los Angeles, CA; Melinda Ruth Bird, LEAD ATTORNEY, Disability Rights California, Los Angeles, CA.

For Andre Birotte Jr., Movant: Robert Ira Lester, LEAD ATTORNEY, AUSA - Office of U.S. Attorney, Civil Division, Los Angeles, CA.

For Deane Dana, Defendant: Andrew I Baum, LEAD ATTORNEY, Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs & Shapiro, Los Angeles, CA; David D Lawrence, Nathan A Oyster, Paul B Beach, Justin W Clark, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lawrence Beach Allen and Choi PC, Glendale, CA.

For County of Los Angeles, Defendant: Daniel Lee, David D Lawrence, Justin W Clark, Paul B Beach, Jin S Choi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lawrence Beach Allen and Choi PC, Glendale, CA.

ORDER RE: ATTORNEY'S FEES [Dkt. No. 1047]

DEAN D. PREGERSON, United States District Judge.

Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the court grants fees in the amount of $384, 275 and adopts the following order.

I. Background

Plaintiffs brought suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on behalf of a putative class comprised of individuals who, while incarcerated in Los Angeles County jail facilities, were required to sleep on the floor between December 2002 and May 2005. Plaintiffs sought, and initially obtained, certification of both a damages class and an injunctive relief class. In November 2005, and in part as a result of this case, the parties in a related case, Rutherford v. Block, CV 75-4111 DDP, agreed to modify an existing injunction so as to require that every inmate receive a bunk and bedding. (See Order, Nov. 18, 2005, Dkt. 237).

This case proceeded. On September 21, 2007, this court granted Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Adjudication, in part, concluding that (1) a custom of forced " floor sleeping" existed in the Los Angeles County Jail system, (2) the practice violates the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, and (3) the County was deliberately indifferent to the violations.

The damages class portion of this case continued to be litigated, involving extensive motion practice regarding the appointment of lead class counsel and numerous settlement proceedings. Though the parties reached a tentative settlement agreement in September 2010, the case ultimately did not settle.

Defendant then moved to decertify the damages class. This court granted the motion, finding, among other things, that Plaintiffs had failed to develop any trial plan, had not put forth any viable method of ascertaining class membership, and had proposed a new theory of recovery that would require a showing of individualized damages. Plaintiffs appeal of this court's decertification order to the Ninth Circuit was denied.

Plaintiffs proceeded to trial with their individual claims for damages. Over Defendant's objections, the court instructed the jury that, consistent with the court's earlier summary judgment order, (1) floor sleeping violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, (2) the County had a custom of requiring inmates to sleep on the floor, and (3) County employees acted under the color of law. The only issues remaining for the jury, therefore, were whether Plaintiffs were required to sleep on the floor and, if so, what damages they suffered as a result.

After a three-day trial, the jury found that each Plaintiff had been deprived of a bunk upon which to sleep, and awarded each Plaintiff $10, 000 in compensatory damages. Plaintiffs now move for approximately ...


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