On December 6, 2010, juvenile inmates housed at the Washington County Juvenile Center (WCJC), filed a class action suit in the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that while at the center they had endured abusive conditions of confinement, including a lack of education and programming, denial of medication, lack of privacy, lack of exercise and lack of mental health care. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants' actions were deliberately indifferent to the plaintiffs' constitutional rights and were a substantial departure from the accepted professional judgment, practices, and standards.
The plaintiffs brought this action for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12132), violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794), violation of the Ohio Civil Rights Act (Ohio Revised Code § 4112.99), violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2933.32, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent retention and supervision, and medical malpractice. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief barring the continued implementation of these policies and ensuring that the Center meet minimum constitutional standards in the treatment and confinement of current and future juvenile detainees housed in the Center, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
On March 3, 2011 the Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. issued an order certifying the plaintiff class pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) and (b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The class was defined as "all persons under twenty-two years of age as of the date on which this lawsuit is filed (and others for whom the statute of limitations is legally tolled) who have been, are now, or in the future, held in custody at the Washington County, Ohio Juvenile Center." Named plaintiffs K.M., D.D., N.B., B.M., C.M., W.G., J.L., and J.R. were appointed as class representatives.
On June 28, 2011 the parties met for a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Terrence P. Kemp. Negotiations continued for several months. As part of the settlement process, the defendants filed an unopposed motion to decertify part of the class, restricting the class to all persons under twenty of years of age. This motion was ordered by Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. on October 17, 2011.
On November 22, 2011, the Court granted an order approving the class action settlement and claims process. The class action settlement and consent decree provided, amongst other provisions, that WCJC would appoint a physician to serve as medical director of the facility, that the WCJC would continue to train staff and hired medical professionals to identify mental health concerns, including youth at risk for suicide, and that the WCJC would continue behavioral treatment and rehabilitations programs. The agreement appointed Mr. Steve Martin as a monitor of the agreement. The agreement further stipulated that a one year period was required to implement the terms of the agreement, and that a six month extension may be acceptable. Finally, the agreement settled the claims for damages of the named plaintiffs.
In the subsequent years, the defendants implemented the terms of the agreement pursuant to supervision by the appointed monitor. On October 9, 2014, the Court granted an order terminating the consent decree and closing the case. David Priddy - 08/04/2011
Maria Ricaurte - 03/27/2016