In April of 2017, Eugene Mitchell and his wife Shayleen Meuchell were in bed with their four-year-old daughter when a party of six bounty hunters from the Montana Civil Assistance Group broke down their front door. They charged into Mitchell and Meuchell’s bedroom with guns and rifles pointed to arrest Mitchell, who had inadvertently missed a court hearing a few days before for two misdemeanor traffic charges. Our lawsuit brings claims for assault, trespassing, false imprisonment, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Montana Consumer Protection Act. This is ACLU’s first lawsuit against the private, for-profit bail industry. It aims to hold all levels of players - including insurance companies - accountable for the harmful practices of the bail industry.

We settled the case on behalf of our clients in October 2019. The case achieved a first-of-its-kind ruling when the court denied a motion to dismiss and allowed the RICO claims to move forward. The court found that certain provisions in the bail contract used in this case were unenforceable, and we expect other courts will see it similarly.


Andrea Woods, Alex Rate, Elizabeth Ehret and Toby Marshall, Beth Terrell, Blythe Chandler of the Terrell Marshall Law Group and Bryan Tipp and Sarah Lockwood with Tipp and Coburn, P.C.

Date filed

April 17, 2019


U.S. District Court for the district of Montana, Missoula Division



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