Hedrick et al v. Grant

Filing 157

ORDER signed by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr on 1/8/15 DENYING 154 Request to Authorize the Expenditure to Hire an Expert. (Meuleman, A)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 8 9 10 DARRIL HEDRICK, DALE ROBINSON, KATHY LINDSEY, MARTIN C. CANADA, DARRY TYRONE PARKER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, 11 14 15 16 17 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ REQUEST FOR PRE-APPROVAL OF EXPERT EXPENDITURES v. 12 13 No. 2:76-cv-00162-GEB-EFB JAMES GRANT, as Sheriff of Yuba County; Lieutenant FRED J. ASBY, as Yuba County Jailer; and JAMES PHARRIS, ROY LANDERMAN, DOUG WALTZ, HAROLD J. “SAM” SPERBECK, JAMES MARTIN, as members of the YUBA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, Defendants. 18 19 20 Plaintiffs request the Court “authorize the expenditure 21 in an amount not to exceed [$5,000.00]” to hire an expert(s) “to 22 determine if the Yuba County Jail’s medical and mental health 23 care, 24 required by the Constitution and the Consent Decree.” (Pls.’ Req. 25 for Authority to Incur Costs 1, ECF No. 154.) Plaintiffs contend 26 the 27 prosecution of this action.” (Id.) facilities, requested and procedures expenditure “is 28 1 meet the reasonably minimum necessary standards to the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Plaintiffs’ counsel, Carter White, filed a Declaration in support of this request, in which he avers: As counsel for the Plaintiff Class, I have a duty to investigate current and ongoing violations of Federal law and the Consent Decree at Yuba County Jail (“the Jail”). See 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b)(3); ECF 120-1, at 48-49. Based on the Clinic’s preliminary investigation into conditions at the Jail, review of reports produced by the County, and declarations made by inmates, it is my belief that there likely exist current and ongoing violations of inmates’ federal rights at the Jail. In order to determine if the conditions of the Jail are in compliance with the Consent Decree and constitutional minima, Plaintiffs reasonably and necessarily need to hire neutral and unbiased experts familiar with jail conditions and constitutional standards. Some of the issues the experts will need to look into include the accessibility of adequate medical and mental health care, the habitability of the Jail facilities, and the adequacy of exercise and recreation for inmates. I have made reasonable inquiry and believe that the initial cost of this course of action will not exceed the amount of $5,000. I will do all that I can to ensure that the expert costs are minimal and reasonable. 18 (Decl. of Carter White in Supp. of Req. to Incur Costs (“White 19 Decl.”) & 2 (emphasis added).) 20 United States District Court for the Eastern District 21 of California (“Eastern District”) General Order No. 510 governs 22 the “reimbursement of pro bono counsel appointed in indigent pro 23 se civil cases.” It provides, in relevant part, that “appointed 24 pro bono counsel . . . may petition the Court for reimbursement 25 from the Court’s Non Appropriated Fund . . . of certain expenses 26 incurred.” See General Order No. 510, 1. Such expenses include: 27 28 Request[ed] reimbursement for costs of retaining expert and non-expert witnesses whose services are necessary in preparing 2 1 their client’s case. Except for good cause shown, all such services require prior approval of the judge before whom a case is pending before they may be purchased, regardless of their cost. 2 3 4 General Order No. 510 ' 4(A)(3) (emphasis added). 5 The scope of Plaintiffs’ requested expert expenditure 6 is unclear and appears beyond what is governed by the Consent 7 Decree. 8 what 9 justification for 10 authorization to 11 Plaintiffs vaguely reference as “constitutional minima,” which 12 Plaintiffs indicate is outside the scope of the Consent Decree. Specifically, aspects of Plaintiffs the the portion conduct an shown Decree Consent have would of expert the neither be precisely involved expenditure investigation nor seeking into what 13 Further, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that expert 14 investigation is necessary “to determine if the conditions of the 15 Jail are in compliance with the Consent Decree and constitutional 16 minima.” (White Decl. & 2.) For the stated reasons, Plaintiffs have not shown the 17 18 requested expenditure is “necessary” 19 Therefore, Plaintiffs’ request is denied. 20 Dated: January 8, 2015 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 to prepare their case.

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