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Case Name Minnis v. Johnson PC-VA-0019
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-00096-TSE -TRJ ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On January 29, 2010, inmates in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) who were deaf or hard of hearing filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Religious Land Use and ... read more >
On January 29, 2010, inmates in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) who were deaf or hard of hearing filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, and Virginia state law against Virginia state agencies, departments, and employees thereof. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the defendants refused to comply with state and federal laws protecting the rights of the plaintiffs. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants failed to provide adequate access to qualified sign language interpreters, adequate notification of daily events and safety announcements, and adequate means to communicate with individuals outside of prison.

On April 13, 2010, the plaintiffs filed the first amended class action complaint.

On May 11, 2010, upon consideration of the plaintiffs' consent motion to voluntarily dismiss Counts III, IV, IX, and X of the plaintiffs' first amended class action complaint, Judge Ellis dismissed the four counts. On June 21, 2010, the plaintiffs entered a stipulation for voluntary dismissal of three of the individual defendants.

On September 14, 2010, the plaintiffs and the medical provider defendants reach a private settlement agreement in which the defendants agreed to pay a total of $37,500 to the plaintiffs and to the plaintiffs' attorneys and to amend policies to ensure protection of the rights of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs agreed to dismiss all claims against these defendants.

On October 18, 2010, the plaintiffs and the VDOC defendants reached a private settlement agreement in which the defendants agreed to ensure that deaf inmates would no longer be discriminated against and the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss all remaining claims. The settlement covers a wide variety of issues, including general policies, initial classification, assessment and assignment, housing, provision of auxiliary aids and services, qualifications and use of sign language interpreters, additional communications, disciplinary matters, visual alert notifications, telecommunication devices, training, and monitoring and compliance.

On November 9, 2010, the plaintiffs entered a consent motion for voluntary dismissal of the VDOC defendants. On November 15, 2010, the parties entered a stipulation of voluntary dismissal for all claims. The next day, Judge Ellis dismissed all claims.

Jessica Kincaid - 07/07/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Phone
Religious programs / policies
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) Medical College of Virginia Hospitals
Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority
Virginia Correctional Enterprises
Virginia Department of Correctional Education
Virginia Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) who were deaf or hard of hearing
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2010 - 2014
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)
1:10-cv-96 (E.D. Va.) 11/17/2010
PC-VA-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 01/29/2010
PC-VA-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 04/13/2010
PC-VA-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Dismissing Certain Counts] 05/11/2010 (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0019-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal 06/21/2010
PC-VA-0019-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Interpretation and Communication Assistance 08/06/2010
PC-VA-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Settlement and Release Agreement 09/14/2010
PC-VA-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Settlement Agreement 10/18/2010
PC-VA-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Plaintiffs' Consent Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of Virginia Department of Corrections Defendants 11/09/2010
PC-VA-0019-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal 11/15/2010
PC-VA-0019-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Dismissing All Claims] 11/16/2010 (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0019-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Ellis, Thomas Selby III (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0019-0006 | PC-VA-0019-0009 | PC-VA-0019-0010 | PC-VA-0019-9000
Jones, Thomas Rawles Jr. (E.D. Va.) [Magistrate]
PC-VA-0019-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Auxier, Adele H. (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0007 | PC-VA-0019-0008 | PC-VA-0019-0010 | PC-VA-0019-9000
Diaw, Amadou K. (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0008
Ewing, Gregory L. (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0008
Finkenstadt, Ivy (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-0008
Gardner, Elaine (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0008
Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005
Levine, Jay L. (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0008
Mancini, Laura A. (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0004 | PC-VA-0019-0005
Racco, Luciano (District of Columbia)
PC-VA-0019-0005 | PC-VA-0019-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Charles Manley Jr. (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-0007 | PC-VA-0019-0010 | PC-VA-0019-9000
Chabalewski, George Walerian (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-9000
Davis, Mark Ralph (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-0007 | PC-VA-0019-0010 | PC-VA-0019-9000
Demarest, William Francis III (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-9000
McNelis, Edward J. III (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-9000
Muldowney, Elizabeth Martin (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-0007 | PC-VA-0019-9000
Parsons, John Michael (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-9000
Raab, Kimberly Jane (Virginia)
PC-VA-0019-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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