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Paul, Weiss, ACLU and Others Secure Class Certifications of Medically Vulnerable Pretrial Detainees

Paul, Weiss, along with co-counsel from the ACLU, ACLU Tennessee, Just City and local counsel from the University of Memphis, won certification of two classes in a lawsuit in the Western District of Tennessee seeking the release of pretrial detainees at high risk of severe infection or death from COVID-19. The certified classes potentially include hundreds of pretrial detainees seeking release from the Shelby County Jail in Memphis.

The ruling follows a lawsuit filed on May 20 against the office of the Shelby County Sheriff and Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr. personally, that sought, among other things, the immediate release of two named plaintiffs, and included class allegations on behalf of all medically vulnerable and disabled pretrial detainees held at the jail.

The parties briefed the motions for a temporary restraining order and class certification, as well as defendants’ motion to dismiss, on an expedited basis and on May 27 the court heard nearly three hours of argument on these motions. Litigation associate Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb argued all motions on behalf of the plaintiffs and was quoted by the court in its decision.

In addition to certifying the two classes, U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman denied defendants’ motion to dismiss and ordered the sheriff to file a list of all class members by June 12. A decision on the interim relief requested for two named plaintiffs is expected shortly.

The Paul, Weiss team includes litigation partners Joseph Bial and Roberto Finzi, counsel Darren Johnson, and associates Megan Gao, Benjamin Gitlin, Aaron Haier, David Kimball-Stanley, Adrienne Lee, Richard Medina, Avery Medjuck, Benjamin Perotin, Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb, Henry Topper, Vi Tran, Hilary Udow, Kate Wald, Jonathan Wall and Shimeng Simona Xu

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