RBGG represents plaintiffs in Coleman v. Newsom — the class action lawsuit brought in 1990 on behalf of all California state prisoners with serious mental illness.  Since 2015, the court has focused on bringing the case to a conclusion by fixing long-term shortages in mental health staffing, and lack of access to crisis units for persons in life-threatening mental health crises. After new evidentiary hearings in 2017, the district court issued a series of orders to address these problems.

The State appealed, but on November 28, 2018 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld district court orders from 2017 which (a) required the State of California  to come into compliance with the Program Guide timelines for transfer of class members to inpatient care or face civil contempt and monetary sanctions and (b) required them to complete transfers of class members to Mental Health Crisis Beds (“MHCBs”) within twenty-four hours of referral, subject to exceptions, and denied their requests to change the way that time period would be measured.

RBGG’s Lisa Ells argued both appeals on November 13, 2018 before the Ninth Circuit.

Selected Media Coverage:

Ninth Circuit Orders California to Step Up on Inmate Mental Health Care, Courthouse News Service, November 28, 2018