Dan McKibben, et al. v. John McMahon, et al.
Alternative Lifestyle Tank ("ALT") Settlement
Case No. 14-2171-JGB-SP

Frequently Asked Questions - Supplemental Class

 

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  • You are receiving the notice because San Bernardino jail records show that you were housed in the ALT between October 22, 2012 and March 31, 2018. Anyone housed in the ALT during this time period is a class member and is entitled to money compensation, provided they submit a timely claim. Whether you are a class member is determined solely from the records of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

    Only certain class members are receiving this notice. Notice went out to other class members previously, and the court approved the Settlement, to which there were no objections or opt outs. However, it was later discovered that some class members had been mistakenly left off the list. You are one of those class members, and a new round of notice has gone out to you and other class members who were left off the previous list. (For those class members who were included in the first round of notice, the deadline has already passed to submit a claim).

  • If you wish to receive money from the Settlement, you must complete and submit a Claim Form. The deadline to submit a Claim Form was July 19, 2019 and has passed.

  • This lawsuit challenged the treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender (“GBT”) inmates who were housed in the ALT. The lawsuit claimed that GBT inmates were discriminated against in various ways, including, among other things, that GBT inmates 1) were automatically placed in the ALT if they self-identified as GBT; 2) would have been at risk for their safety if admitted to the general population as openly GBT inmates because the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did not have plans or programs to ensure their safety; 3) had no or inadequate PREA programs in place to protect GBT inmates or address particular vulnerabilities of GBT inmates placed in the general population; 4) were limited in their time-out-of-cell generally to an hour and a half per day, and often less, in contrast to similarly situated (by classification or sentencing status) general population inmates; 5) were denied the same work opportunities that were provided to similarly situated (by classification or sentencing status) general population inmates; 6) were denied the same programming opportunities that were provided to similarly situated (by classification or sentencing status) general population inmates; and 7) were denied a comparable range of religious services to those available to the general population.

    What court is in charge of this case? The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Central District of California, located in Riverside, California. The case is known as McKibben, et al. v. McMahon, et al., Case No.14-2171-JGB-SP. The Judge is The Honorable Jesus Bernal.

  • Early in this case, the parties agreed to explore settlement negotiations instead of continuing litigation. When settlement negotiations began, the primary objective was to improve the conditions of the ALT. After the parties reached an agreement on policy changes, they negotiated money compensation for individuals who had been housed in the ALT. The class representatives and their attorneys think that the proposed Settlement is a fair, reasonable and adequate resolution of this case.

  • The Settlement has three parts – injunctive relief (changes to how the ALT and the San Bernardino County jails operate in the treatment of GBT inmates); payment of compensation to the Class Representatives and the class members; and attorney’s fees. We briefly describe each below.

    1. Injunctive Relief
      The injunctive relief is extensive and difficult to summarize. The full agreement is posted on the Important Documents page. It changes the name of the ALT to the GBTI (Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Unit. It establishes a PREA (“Prison Rape Elimination Act”)-GBTI Committee that includes classification, programming and social work personnel that will make individualized determinations regarding housing, programming and work opportunities for GBTI inmates after conferring with them. It provides guidelines for housing, classification, work and programming options for GBTI inmates and for equal tier time for the GBTI Unit as for general population inmates. It establishes training guidelines for personnel on GBTI issues and for GBTI inmates regarding their rights. It addresses particular issues related to transgender inmates. It provides that Class Counsel will be consulted on the policies to be implemented and for reports and monitoring of the Agreement for three years.
    2. Damages to the Class
      The total damages to the class (which has 929 individuals in it) is $950,000, which will be placed in a class fund overseen by a professional Class Administrator.
      Plaintiffs' counsel are proposing payment of special compensation to the 15 Class Representatives of a total of $55,500 (in individual amounts between $2000-$5500) for their roles in bringing and advancing the case. After these payments, approximately $894,500 will be divided among the class members who file timely claims, based on a formula approved by the Court.
      Under the formula, class members will receive a certain number of points for each incarceration day based on the person’s status during that day (pre-sentenced or sentenced, work eligibility and classification) and the overall conditions in the ALT on that day. Each class member’s total points represent the sum of their daily points. The total points for each class member will then be added together, from which the class member’s share of the recovery will be determined. Because it is anticipated that not all class members will make Timely Claims, a claiming class member’s share will be based on that class member’s share of the total points for class members who made Timely Claims (and not on eligible class members). This has the effect of increasing the amount awarded to claiming class members.
      No claiming individual class member will receive less than $40 or more than $10,000 regardless of the amount above or below those figures due them under the formula.
    3. Attorney's Fees and Litigation Costs
      The Court will be asked to award Plaintiffs’ counsel $1,100,000 in statutory attorney’s fees plus litigation costs. This is separate from the $950,000 class fund to be distributed to class members. This figure is a substantial discount from the fees that would otherwise have been claimed (separate from compensation to class members) because Plaintiffs’ counsel considered the injunctive relief a model. These fees must ultimately be approved by the Court after satisfying itself they are reasonable and fair.
  • As a class member, you are represented by the ACLU of Southern California and the law firm, Kaye, McLane, Bednarski and Litt. These are the lawyers who have been handling the lawsuit for the past five years. They are referred to as “Class Counsel” and were appointed by the Court to represent the class.

    You will not be asked to pay your own personal money for the services these attorneys have provided you. Instead, the lawyers will be paid separately by San Bernardino County, after approval by the Court. Class counsel will ask the court to award Class Counsel $1,100,000. The Court can award less than that amount, but not more.

    It is your right to hire your own lawyer to advise you about your rights, options or obligations as a Class Member in this lawsuit. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was July 19, 2019 and has passed.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was July 19, 2019 and has passed.

  • If you did not file a claim, you will receive no money from the Settlement, and you will be giving up your rights against San Bernardino County.

  • People who submit claims, object, or do nothing, give up their right to sue San Bernardino County (or its employees) for claims covered by this case. This means that you will not be able to sue San Bernardino County for conditions of confinement while you were housed in the ALT. The released claims (claims you give up) include any claims that were or could have been asserted in the complaint based on the facts alleged, specifically for the conditions and treatment, including discriminatory treatment, in the ALT during the time covered by this Settlement. Released claims do not include any other claim(s) that a plaintiff or class member may have against Defendants for conduct not covered by this Settlement (for example, a claim for an incident of use of force unrelated to this suit).

  • The Court granted final approval of the amended Settlement on July 30, 2019.

  • No money will be paid until after the settlement funds are deposited with the Settlement Administrator, which will only occur after all possibilities of appeal are completed. After that it may two months, and possibly more, to process the claims and send the money to the Class Members. If you filed a claim and do not receive money within six months after July 19, 2019, check this website or contact the Settlement Administrator (see Question 13 below).

  • If you have questions, call 1-844-877-5925, email info@ALTSettlement.com, or write to:

    ALT Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91307
    Seattle, WA 98111

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Mail

ALT Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91307
Seattle, WA 98111