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Case Name Ulibarri v. City and County of Denver DR-CO-0008
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-01814-WDM-MJW ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Case Summary
On August 28, 2007, three deaf individuals and two deaf advocacy groups filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against the City and County of Denver, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On August 28, 2007, three deaf individuals and two deaf advocacy groups filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against the City and County of Denver, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, the Center for the Rights of Parents with Disabilities, and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, money damages, and attorney's fees and costs, claiming that Denver violated the plaintiffs' rights when it denied them access to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, or other effective forms of communication, resulting in the death of one plaintiff and injury to the others.

The complaint alleged that each plaintiff, on separate occasions, was arrested and processed without the assistance of an ASL interpreter or provided an alternative means of communication during and after booking, resulting in harm. The first listed plaintiffs, a mother and the Estate of her son, claimed that the detention facility and jail where the decedent was held negligently caused the decedent's suicide. The Order on Pending Motions, 742 F. Supp. 2d 1192 (D. Colo. 2010) explains that the decedent was arrested on felony charges and subsequently processed and screened for mental health issues, with no noted concerns. After being held in the local jail for about a month, segregated from the general population and without access to a TTD phone, closed captioning television, or an ASL interpreter, the decedent hung himself. Nurse rounds note no concerns for depression or other possible mental illnesses, but these were not conducted through an interpreter.

The second listed individual on the complaint, hereinafter referred to as "K," was arrested at a Greyhound station after he got into a scuffle with a security guard. After being treated for a broken ankle, plaintiff K was processed and placed in a segregated cell at the local detention facility. He was arraigned the same day and pled guilty to three charges, without the assistance of counsel or an interpreter, and via handwritten notes.

The final plaintiff listed on the complaint, hereinafter referred to as "B," was arrested in her home on a bench warrant. According to the Order on Pending Motions, the police used her daughter and notes to communicate the reason for her arrest. Plaintiff B tried to communicate her diabetic condition and need for meds, but the officer refused to accept her medications. While waiting at the police station, her blood sugar became dangerously low but she remained unable to communicate her status to the police. was not given food or an interpreter to further discuss her medical needs. The jail released Plaintiff B at 2:00am, without affording her access to a functioning TTD phone to arrange transportation, and she returned home via train at 5:30am. She narrowly escaped an attempted sexual assault on her way home.

On September 30, 2010, the District Court (Judge Walker Miller) granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The District Court granted the motion for summary judgment on the constitutional claims, and on the claims against the individual defendants in their personal capacity, but denied in part the defendants' motion as to plaintiffs' claims based on the Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act, and denied the motions for summary judgment as to the state negligence and wrongful death claims.

On September 7, 2012, the parties reached a private settlement. The defendants, City and County of Denver, agreed to pay the sum of $695,000 to the plaintiffs in order to settle any and all claims. The plaintiffs agreed to release the defendants from all claims arising out of the alleged incidents. On October 4th, 2012, the District Court (Judge Miller)dismissed the case with prejudice after having been informed of the parties' settlement agreement. This ended the case.

Gregory Pitt - 07/19/2012
Nick Kabat - 10/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Communication skills
Confinement/isolation
Courts
Failure to train
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Pattern or Practice
Reasonable Accommodations
TTY/Close Captioning/etc.
Medical/Mental Health
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City and County of Denver
Plaintiff Description Three deaf individuals.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-CO-0007 : Scott v. City and County of Denver (D. Colo.)
Docket(s)
1:07-cv-01814-WDM-MJW (D. Colo.) 10/04/2012
DR-CO-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint & Jury Demand 08/28/2007 (2007 WL 3191954)
DR-CO-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended And Supplemental Complaint 02/25/2008 (2008 WL 7183248)
DR-CO-0008-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Pending Motions 09/30/2010 (742 F.Supp.2d 1192) (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0008-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Full and Final Release Agreement 09/18/2012
DR-CO-0008-0021.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Stipulated Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice 10/04/2012 (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0008-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Miller, Walker David (D. Colo.)
DR-CO-0008-0014
Smith, Ortrie D. (W.D. Mo.)
DR-CO-0008-0017 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Watanabe, Michael J. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
DR-CO-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fox, Timothy Patrick (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0006
Greisen, Paula Dee (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0006 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Krebs, Roger (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0021
Lucas, Carrie Ann (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0006 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Robertson, Amy Farr (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0006 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Schwartz, Laura Ellen (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0001 | DR-CO-0008-0006 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Williams, Kevin William (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0006 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bigler, Thomas G. (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-9000
Fasing, Suzanne A. (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-0021 | DR-CO-0008-9000
Other Lawyers Revercomb, Laura Lee (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-9000
Siderius, Linda L. (Colorado)
DR-CO-0008-9000

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