Ahlman v. Barnes, No. 20-55568 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Orange County jail inmates brought 42 U.S.C. 1983 and other federal claims based on alleged failure to combat COVID-19. The district court granted provisional class certification and issued a preliminary injunction under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), which automatically expired 90 days after being issued.
The Ninth Circuit dismissed an appeal as moot because the injunction and provisional class certification are no longer in effect. While the Supreme Court’s emergency stay of the preliminary injunction may have prevented the injunction from having any further effect, it did not toll the 90-day limit unambiguously detailed in the PLRA. The court rejected the County’s assertion that the appeal fell within an exception to mootness because the issue was capable of repetition but evading review, noting that circumstances had changed since the original injunction issued, Given the Supreme Court’s stay of the injunction, the chance that plaintiffs would successfully acquire another preliminary injunction, at least without significantly worse conditions than previously existed, is remote. The provisional class certification expired along with the preliminary injunction.