United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
Marshall Jr. United States District Judge.
are three pending issues about the Jacksonville North Pulaski
Court appreciates JNPSD's first compliance report, No
5500, on implementation of its modified 2018 master
facilities plan. Any objection by Intervenors is due by 28
Second Sub-Class Representative
objections to Linda Morgan's service as a second subclass
representative on JNPSD issues are overruled. Morgan has been
involved at Dupree Elementary with her grandson. He lives
with her. Morgan's focus has been on classroom and
discipline issues, which is understandable. The Court
believes that she, working with Tiffany Ellis, can and will
stand up for JNPSD's non-white students, parents, and
others acting as parents. Discipline and student achievement
remain under the Court's supervision. These are key
issues. Morgan can learn about the staffing-incentives,
facilities, and monitoring issues. She is an educated person
with a willingness to serve. The Court concludes that she is
sufficiently engaged and experienced to adequately represent
the sub-class with Ellis at this point. FED. R. CIV. P.
23(a)(4); Rattray v. Woodbury County, Iowa, 614 F.3d
831, 835 (8th Cir. 2010). The Court therefore appoints Linda
Morgan as the second JNPSD sub-class representative.
material things considered, Interveners' motion for
attorney's fees and expenses is partly granted and partly
denied. 42U.S.C. § 1988(b); Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983); Association for
Retarded Citizens of North Dakota v. Schafer, 83 F.3d
1008, 1010-12 (8th Cir. 1996); Jenkins v. State of
Missouri, 127 F.3d 709, 716-19 (8th Cir. 1997). The $4,
313.80 sought for depositions, copies, mileage, and monthly
meeting expenses is not opposed. It's awarded in full.
Intervenors seek approximately $270, 000 for the work of
their lawyers, paralegal, and monitors between June 2017 and
October 2018. The Court concludes that $138, 900 is a
reasonable fee for all necessary work during this period.
Here is the Court's thinking.
the Intervenors are prevailing parties in the case in
general. It's their place to monitor the remedy embodied
in Plan 2000 and defend it. The facilities and staffing
issues tried in February 2018 were new in the sense that
JNPSD is new, but old in a deeper sense: they're about
what Plan 2000 requires, the obligations JNPSD inherited. So
the question is the reasonableness and necessity of the work
success, and the lack of it, are important considerations.
Intervenors persuaded the Court that all the District's
elementary schools must be replaced sooner than JNPSD
proposed and before any expansions of the new high school and
new middle school. This was Intervenors' fallback
position. They did not persuade the Court with their main
contention, which was that all the elementary schools had to
be replaced immediately. The Court has commended JNPSD's
promises -during closing argument-that the District would
prioritize the new elementary schools over other projects,
plus accelerate planning and construction. The Court again
commends the District on these important commitments. But,
they came only at the end of the trial, after
Intervenors' full court press and pointed inquiries from
did not succeed overall on the staffing issues. JNPSD's
good faith was apparent. There was only one slice where more
needs to be done; the record did not otherwise support the
Intervenors' position. And the Court agrees with JNPSD
that several staffing-related issues could have been
stipulated. The fee must be reduced to reflect these
monitoring. It's needed, of course. But JNPSD is right
about excessive time in several areas. Seventy dollars per
hour is a generous rate. And remember that we're talking
about a sixteen-month period. A reduction in overall hours is
appropriate. An example. The Donaldson Scholars program is a
pillar of PCSSD's and JNPSD's efforts to become
unitary in student achievement. No 5018 & No.
5021. The various ways the program helps get students
into college, and prepares them to succeed there, are
important. Helping keep the students in college is another
bridge, though of course a related one. The Court rejects
JNPSD's argument that funding this program ended all the
Districts' obligations. Because it is all about student
achievement, some monitoring here is good. A reduction for
excessive time is necessary, though. The record shows that
the monitors have been deeply engaged, actually helping
administer all parts of the program. In their revised
request, Intervenors helpfully eliminated time already
compensated by the program itself. The monitors'
remaining efforts are commendable, but only partly
the class representative issues. These were needlessly
contentious. Compare the PCSSD substitutions. As JNPSD says,
Intervenors should have addressed this issue sua
sponte much sooner; but JNPSD over-litigated the point.
Intervenors are entitled to some, but not all, of their
the monthly meetings. To economize, only Mr. Walker and Ms.
Springer need to attend on behalf of Joshua. Information from
and to other monitors should flow through ...