April 5, 2017
ArchCity Defenders encourages the remaining 34 class members from its federal class action lawsuit to cash their settlement checks by the upcoming deadline, Friday, April 14, 2017. The amount totals $273,763.
While ArchCity Defenders would love to see each class member who was jailed receive their fair portion, all uncashed proceeds will be donated to Hope House, a homeless shelter for students attending the Jennings school district.
“No amount of money could ever fully compensate for the systemic failures of our criminal legal system. This settlement provides direct compensation to class members and sends a message to cities across America who operate municipal courts,” said Thomas B. Harvey, Executive Director, ArchCity Defenders.
ArchCity Defenders, SLU Law Legal Clinic and Alec Karakatsanis filed the lawsuit against the City of Jennings and the City of Ferguson in February 2015. Negotiations continue in a nearly identical debtors’ prison class action against the City of Ferguson.
The landmark $4.7M settlement with Jennings carries long-term significance. It established the highest per diem pay out in a class action of its kind on behalf of a class of 2000 people, directed significant funds to a homeless shelter in the City of Jennings, and paid out legal fees so that community lawyers may continue to file similar cases. The settlement provided injunctive relief, ending constitutional violations such as cash bail and the modern day debtors’ prison practices in the City of Jennings while establishing a blueprint for permanent and meaningful reform throughout the region’s legal system.
Questions about the settlement checks, may be directed to the Settlement Administrator from the Dahl Administration: info@JenningsSettlement.com, 1-866-236-6721, or City of Jennings Settlement c/o Dahl Administration PO Box 3614, Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614.
Z. Gorley, Communications Director at ArchCity Defenders