NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

 
 
 

            A class action lawsuit was filed by nine individuals who were inmates at the Fulton County Jail in November of 2014 against Fulton County Jail Sheriff Theodore Jackson and Chief Jailer Mark Adger (the “Defendants”). The lawsuit is Thompson et al. v. Jackson et al., 1:16-cv-04217 (N.D.Ga.) and the complaint may be downloaded here.  The lawsuit alleges that due to a GCIC outage that lasted from approximately Friday, November 14, 2014, until Friday, November 21, 2014, certain inmates were unlawfully detained 24 hours or more after they were eligible for release from the Fulton County Jail.

            On November 15, 2018, the Court certified a class of all inmates at the Fulton County Jail who, between November 14 and November 21, 2014, were detained for more than 24 hours past the time they were entitled to release due to the inability of the Jail employees to run GCIC checks because the system was experiencing an outage. The lawsuit sought money damages for the individuals in this class.

 

The Plaintiffs and Defendants have reached a settlement of this case on behalf of the proposed class, and the Court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement. The terms of the settlement agreement are as follows: 

The final agreement reached by the parties consists of a $2,000,000 settlement. An average of approximately $4,000 will be distributed per class member. However, the amount each class member receives will vary based on the specifics of each person’s length of detention, including the amount of time each class member’s release was delayed and what types of damages each class member suffered. It is anticipated that there are potentially 313 responding class members, which would consume $1,200,000 of the $2,000,000 settlement.

The remaining amount, $800,000, will be paid to Plaintiffs’ counsel for attorneys’ fees. This amount will be reduced per class member who opts of the class and is represented by Plaintiffs’ counsel.

If any checks issued to the class members are not cashed within six months, those funds will be returned to the Defendants once the six-month period has run.

If you are a member of the class as a result of the November 2014 GCIC outage’s impact on your release from the jail, you are eligible to participate in the class settlement or opt out of the class settlement.

 

If you wish to be a class member and obtain compensation through the settlement, you must complete and return the Response Form available via download here.  If you wish to opt out, you must complete and return the Opt-Out Form available via download here.  The Response Form or Opt-Out Form must be received by no later than AUGUST 1, 2022. Please send those forms to the attorneys for the class at the following address:

Attn: Fulton County Jail Settlement
Eshman Begnaud LLC
PO Box 130
Decatur, GA 30031

Alternatively, you may submit the Response Form or Opt-Out Form by faxing or sending them as a scanned attachment by email. Call our office at 404.665.9601 for more information.

The Court will hold a public hearing, called a fairness hearing, to decide if the proposed settlement is fair.
The hearing will be held on OCTOBER 4, 2022 at 10:00 am at the following address:

United States District Court
Northern District of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Federal Building
2211 United States Courthouse
75 Ted Turner Drive, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3309
Courtroom 1906

Because the date and time of the hearing could change, please check with the Court before attending.

 

If you are a member of the class, you will be bound by the settlement in this case and barred from filing any future claims against Sheriff Theodore Jackson, Sheriff Patrick Labat, Chief Mark Adger and/or Chief John Jackson related to the delay in your release due to the November 2014 GCIC outage. If you want to pursue claims separately, you may opt out of the class by completing the attached Opt-Out Form – instead of the Response Form – and returning it to the address shown above by AUGUST 1, 2022.

 

            If you opt out, you will not be prohibited from asserting claims related to the delay in your release due to the November 2014 GCIC outage against the Defendants in separate litigation. However, by opting out, you will be barred from receiving the payment to which you would have been entitled as a member of the class in this lawsuit. If you want to be a member of the class and receive a monetary award as part of the settlement of this case, do not complete the Opt-Out Form.

If you have questions, you may contact the following attorney for the class:

Mark Begnaud
Eshman Begnaud, LLC
315 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 775
Decatur, GA 30030

404.665.9601 (office) 404.491.0170 (direct)