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.
- 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.
- Damages to the Class
The total damages to the class (which has 655 individuals in it) is $950,000, which was placed in a class fund overseen by a professional Class Administrator.
From this, the costs of class administration (estimated at $40,000 or less), the experts/consultants retained by Plaintiffs and the mediation costs (combined approximately $37,000) was deducted.
Plaintiffs’ counsel proposed payment of special compensation to the 14 Class Representatives of a total of $60,500 (in individual amounts between $2,000-$5,500) for their roles in bringing and advancing the case. The Court awarded a total of $55,500.
After payment of the foregoing, approximately $812,500 was divided among the Class Members who filed Timely Claims, based on a formula approved by the Court. Under the formula, Class Members received 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 was then added together, from which the Class Member’s share of the recovery was determined. Because it was anticipated that not all Class Members would make Timely Claims, a claiming Class Member’s share was 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.
If 328 people filed Timely Claims, then the average recovery would exceed $2,400. However, because how much any claiming class member receives is based on the formula, individual damages will vary greatly, depending first on the length of time spent in the ALT and secondarily on other factors.
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, not including the special compensation for Class Representatives explained above.
- Attorney’s Fees and Litigation Costs
The Court was asked to award Plaintiffs’ counsel $1,100,000 in statutory attorney’s fees and litigation costs (excluding the expert/consultant and mediation costs), such that Defendants would pay these fees and costs. 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 were approved by the Court after satisfying itself they are reasonable and fair.