Covington v. White et al

Filing 141

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 129 Motion. Motion, 135 , denied as moot because there will be bifurcation. Covington's individual jail-conditions claim is dismissed without prejudice. The January trial on that issue is cancelled. The parties' December 19 pretrial filings are cancelled. Joint Report with further revised draft based on collaboration by all parties due by 23 December 2014. The Court grants Covington permission to file a petition for interim fees and expenses against Byrd only. Covington's request to hire a claims administrator is denied without prejudice. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 12/17/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Notice)(jak)

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Draft Notice 17 December 2014 NOTICE TO COVINGTON CLASS MEMBERS To: All pretrial detainees at the Phillips County Jail who were denied a prompt first appearance in the three years before this case was filed on 22 June 2012. You may be eligible for compensation. 1. Class Action Claims Your rights may be affected by this Class Action. Gary Covington has brought this lawsuit against Phillips County and the City of Helena-West Helena. He alleges that the County and the City failed to provide a prompt first appearance in court (within 72 hours of arrest) to pretrial detainees at the County jail. Covington claims the City and the County violated the U.S. Constitution. He seeks damages for himself and others who were allegedly denied a prompt first appearance. The Court has held Phillips County liable for its violation of the Constitution, and will set the matter for a trial on damages owed. The City denies that it violated the Constitution and denies any liability to Covington and other pretrial detainees. The Court will hold a trial to resolve the City's potential liability. 2. Location of Lawsuit This Class Action is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The purpose of this Notice is to tell you about the Class claim described in paragraph 1. This Notice is sent for the sole purpose of informing you that this case is pending- so you can decide whether to participate in this case or not. 3. Attorney Fees & Costs H Covington wins, then the Court will be asked to approve payment of Page 1 of 4 Draft Notice 17 December 2014 litigation expenses and attorney fees to the Class Attorney. Expenses and fees may be deducted from the total amount of recovery or they may be awarded separately by the Court. No other fees or costs will be charged to Class members. H the City wins, you will not be responsible for paying any costs or attorney's fees. 4. Class Representatives & Class Attorney The Court has approved Gary Covington as Class Representative. The Court has also approved a Class Attorney. He is Luther Sutter SUTTER & GILLHAM, P.L.L.C. Attorneys at Law Post Office Box 2012 Benton, Arkansas 72018 (501) 315-1910 H you decide to remain a member of the Class and wish to communicate with the Class Attorney, you may do so by writing to him. 5. Election by Class Members: Opt Out or Remain in the Class H you are a member of the Covington Class, as described in paragraph 1, you must choose whether to remain a member of this Class Action and have the Class Representative and Class Attorney identified in paragraph 4 represent you. Your decision will have important consequences. A. H you come within the class of persons described in paragraph 1, you will automatically become a Covington Class Member unless you ask to be excluded from the Class in the manner indicated below. H you want to be a Class Member, you are not required to do anything at this time. By remaining a Class Page 2 of 4 Draft Notice 17 December 2014 Member, any claims you have against the County or the City for damages will be decided in this case and cannot be presented in any other lawsuit. As a member of the Covington Class, you will be bound by any result obtained by the Class Representative, whether favorable or unfavorable. B. H you choose to be excluded from the Covington Class, you must mail a written request to postmarked on or before . By making this election to be excluded: You will not be bound by any decision in this lawsuit; you may present any claims you have against the County or the City by filing your own lawsuit; or you may seek to intervene in this lawsuit through your own counsel. 6. Rights and Obligations of Class Members If you remain a member of this Class: A. Gary Covington will act as your Class Representative and Luther Sutter of Sutter & Gillham, P.L.L.C. will act as your Class Attorney for the presentation of the claims against the City and the County. If you desire, you may appear at any proceeding in person or by an attorney you have selected. You may also seek to intervene individually and may advise the Court if at any time you consider that you are not being fairly and adequately represented by the Class Representative or Class Attorney. B. Your participation in any recovery that may be obtained from the County or the City through trial or settlement will depend on the results of the lawsuit. If no recovery is obtained for the Class, you will be bound by that result too. C. You will be entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard Page 3 of 4 Draft Notice 17 December 2014 regarding any proposed settlement or dismissal of the Class claims. For this reason, and to participate in any recovery, you are requested to notify of your full name and current address. 7. Further Proceedings Pretrial and trial proceedings remain to be done in this case. You may communicate with the Class Attorney if you have evidence you believe would be helpful to the establishment of the Covington Class claims, and you may be asked by the parties to provide information relevan~ to the case. 8. Contact Information Any questions you have concerning the matters contained in this Notice should not be directed to the Court. They should be directed in writing to _______ . You may write to the Claims Administrator at _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .Additionally, you may learn more about the Class Action online at or by calling 1-888-287-1637. The pleadings and other records in this case may be examined and copied at any time during regular office hours at the office of the Clerk of the United States District Court, 600 West Capitol Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas. 9. Reminder as to Time Limit If you wish to be excluded from the Covington Class described in paragraph 1, return the completed Exclusion Form to by mail postmarked on or before _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . [Form Missing] Page4 of 4

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