University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Peralez v. Washington State Department of Corrections PC-WA-0019
Docket / Court 06-5625 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On October 26, 2006, Plaintiff, a disabled former prisoner in the Washington State Department of Corrections, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington under the Americans With Disabilities Act , the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
On October 26, 2006, Plaintiff, a disabled former prisoner in the Washington State Department of Corrections, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington under the Americans With Disabilities Act , the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). The Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for damages and for class certification for all similarly situated disabled prisoners, alleging that the DOC discriminates against prisoners with disabilities. Specifically, the Plaintiff claimed that a scoring system that the DOC used to determine whether a prisoner qualified for work release discriminated against prisoners with physical and mental disabilities by barring them from participating in the program because of their disability.

On August 10, 2007, the court approved certification of the class. The class included all disabled prisoners or former prisoners of the DOC who, since October 30, 2003, have been partially or wholly denied participation in the work release program because of a disability, and whose claim is limited to no more than 180 days of lost wages from the alleged discrimination. The plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment stating that the DOC's systems of scoring inmates for work release based on disabilities violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

On January 8, 2008, the court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment stating that to the extent that the DOC utilizes a practice of scoring prisoners according to a numerical profiling system based on physical abilities and uses that score as a motivating factor to exclude otherwise eligible disabled prisoners from the work release program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The court also amended the class to limit class members to disabled prisoners of the DOC who have been wholly or partially denied participation in the DOC work release program, provided a specific score was a motivating factor in determining the work release denial.

A settlement agreement was filed with the court and approved on May 12, 2008. The plaintiff agreed to dismiss the action and that the settlement resolves any potential claims by class members relating to the allegation that they were denied the right to participate in work release because of a disability. The DOC denied any liability in discriminating against disabled prisoners, but as a result of the action, the DOC voluntarily underwent a significant effort to alter and revise various policies and procedures and has taken other steps designed to minimize the future potential for discriminating against disabled persons in connection with work release. The DOC agreed to pay named Plaintiff $30,000 for his contributions towards the action. The DOC also agreed to pay each class member $1,800 (for a total class settlement of $298,800) and to separately pay attorneys fees.

Ashley Grolig - 09/26/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Hearing impairment
Mental impairment
Mobility impairment
Visual impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Work release or work assignments
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Washington State Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Disabled former inmates in Washington State Department of Corrections
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
3:06−cv−05625 (W.D. Wash.) 03/11/2010
PC-WA-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 10/30/2006
PC-WA-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer to Plaintiffs' Class Action Complaint 11/22/2006
PC-WA-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 08/10/2007 (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0019-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment 11/29/2007
PC-WA-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/08/2008 (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 05/12/2008
PC-WA-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Granting Final Approval to Class Action Settlement 08/05/2008 (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0019-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Dismissal as to Defendants State of Washington Department of Corrections 10/29/2008 (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0019-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Arnold, J. Kelley (W.D. Wash.) [Magistrate]
PC-WA-0019-0004 | PC-WA-0019-0005 | PC-WA-0019-0006 | PC-WA-0019-0007 | PC-WA-0019-0008 | PC-WA-0019-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Budge, Edwin S. (Washington)
PC-WA-0019-0001 | PC-WA-0019-0003 | PC-WA-0019-0004 | PC-WA-0019-9000
Heipt, Erik J. (Washington)
PC-WA-0019-0003 | PC-WA-0019-0004 | PC-WA-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Jobson, Mark Conlin (Washington)
PC-WA-0019-0002 | PC-WA-0019-0004 | PC-WA-0019-0008 | PC-WA-0019-9000
McKenna, Robert M. (Washington)
PC-WA-0019-0008
Other Lawyers None on record

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