The ACLU of Texas, ACLU National, Civil Rights Corps, the Next Generation Action Network Legal Advocacy Fund, and Susman Godfrey LLP have together filed a class action lawsuit against Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown in her capacity as the keeper of the Dallas County Jail.
The three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are asking that the Dallas County Jail follow the social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint asserts that thousands of lives are at risk by the jail not implementing basic health protocols meant to protect public safety. As of May 19, 2020, a total of 333 individuals have tested positive for the virus at the Dallas County Jail.
The lawsuit argues that Sheriff Brown has obligations under the Texas Constitution and common law to maintain the jail in a clean and sanitary manner and to take immediate action to abate a public health nuisance. It further highlights that subjecting people who are detained pretrial to unreasonable risk violates their rights under the Texas Constitution.