I started Siggins Informed Resolutions to assist decision-makers in formulating and implementing public policy reforms and remedial decrees in institutional reform litigation.
I began representing California’s Governors and other high-ranking officials in cases challenging the policies and practices of public institutions in 1988. Many of those cases were class actions brought against the California correctional system. Following my tenure as a government lawyer, I was a state appellate judge for 16 years.
In Toussaint v. Gomez, I represented the Director and wardens of the California Department of Corrections in a class action challenging the conditions in administrative segregation units at San Quentin, Folsom, Soledad and the Deuel Vocational Institution. The case began in the District Court in 1973. I was the principal lawyer assigned to the case in 1988, and following some proceedings before a Rule 53 Special Master and a couple of trips to the Ninth Circuit in which the defendants prevailed, the case was dismissed by the plaintiffs in 1996. I also represented the Director of Corrections in Gates v. Gomez, a case challenging the provision of mental and physical care at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.
In Armstrong v. Wilson, I was one of two lawyers who, on behalf of the state, negotiated over two hundred stipulated facts with plaintiffs’ counsel, allowing a class action Americans with Disabilities Act case to be decided upon cross-motions for summary judgment. Following Armstrong, I represented the defendants in Madrid v. Gomez, a class action challenging conditions of confinement, use of force policies and health care at Pelican Bay State Prison.
I’ve also supervised civil rights investigations in police practices cases, one resulting in a consent decree that implemented significant changes in the practices and policies of the City of Riverside Police Department.
As a judge, I’ve reviewed many cases involving injunctive relief directed at government institutions, and I’ve mediated disputes between government agencies. I was also appointed a mediator by a special three-judge federal court that entered a decree setting a population cap for the California prison system. I regularly worked with the parties to implement the court-ordered relief and resolve disputes over the timing and methods the State employed to reduce its prison population.
Resolving cases with public institutions often involves considerations that do not bear upon purely private disputes. Parties uninvolved in the litigation may have interests that will be affected by the outcome and need to be taken into account. Implementation of relief may involve government officers who are not before the court, or the enactment of legislation necessary to change a government practice or program. There can be public notice and open hearing requirements in many cases.
I have worked extensively with court special masters appointed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53 to assess the effectiveness and compliance with court ordered relief. I have also negotiated successful resolutions in cases challenging California’s education policies and mass tort liability cases.
I look forward to an opportunity to work with you to solve the problems you may face in public institution reform cases.