Judge Upholds Prisoner Suit Against Monterey County

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging inadequate medical treatment and Disabilities Act violations at the Monterey County Jail.

The lawsuit was filed by Monterey County's Public Defender Jim Egar and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of disabled and sick inmates last year. The complaint, which named Monterey County, the Sheriff’s Office, and the California Forensic Medical Group, alleged that jail inmates were kept in deplorable conditions and were routinely denied access to necessary medical care.

Monterey County soon requested a motion for the lawsuit’s dismissal. The suit was invalid, officials said, since many of the designated plaintiffs were no longer inmates at the jail. On Monday, however, Judge Paul Singh Grewal rejected that claim, arguing that such a stipulation would be unreasonable.

"Even those who can expect to remain in the jail for two years or more will likely move on before the resolution of this litigation," Grewal wrote. “The court,” he added, “must focus on the average length of detention in the county jail and must look at the claims of the class as a whole rather than plaintiffs' individual claims for relief."

The judge also rejected the California Forensic Medical Group’s argument that it shouldn’t be included in the lawsuit since it is an independent contractor.

Whether the lawsuit can be certified as a class action will be determined at a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 28.

Read more about Monday’s ruling here



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