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Arnold & Porter and Co-Counsel Win Unprecedented Relief For Residents of California Federal Prison Plagued by Sexual Abuse and Retaliation

March 19, 2024

Arnold & Porter and its co-counsel recently achieved an unprecedented civil rights victory for incarcerated individuals in a federal women’s prison in California when a United States District Court judge granted a preliminary injunction and certified a class action lawsuit against the U.S. government, following years of sexual abuse and retaliation at Federal Correctional Institute (“FCI”) Dublin, located east of Oakland, California.

As part of the order, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will appoint a special master to oversee court-ordered changes at the prison, marking the first time the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been subject to such an action. The special master will assist the court in monitoring FCI Dublin and ensuring the prison complies with further orders to protect its population, whom the judge found continue to face a substantial risk of sexual abuse and retaliation for reporting staff misconduct, in violation of the Eighth and First Amendments. The parties have until March 25 to nominate special master candidates for the Court’s consideration.

Arnold & Porter is representing the certified class of approximately 700 people incarcerated at FCI Dublin, alongside pro bono partners Rights Behind Bars, the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, and the California-based firm Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP. Arnold & Porter also represents many individuals suing FCI Dublin for damages as a result of abuse suffered at the prison.

The Arnold & Porter pro bono team is being led by partner Stephen Cha-Kim and also includes senior associate Carson Anderson, and associates Brooke D'Amore Bradley, Mark Raftrey, and Natalie Steiert.