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Case Name A.B. v. Washington Department of Social and Health Services JC-WA-0011
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-01178-MJP ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Mental Health (Facility)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On August 4, 2014, advocates for A.B. and other legally incompetent criminal defendants in county jails in Washington State filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued the Washington Department of Social and Health Services under 42 U.S. ... read more >
On August 4, 2014, advocates for A.B. and other legally incompetent criminal defendants in county jails in Washington State filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued the Washington Department of Social and Health Services under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C § 12111 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201; they sought both injunctive and declaratory relief.

The plaintiffs alleged that the rights of A.B. and similarly situated persons were violated by the delay between being deemed legally incompetent and being transferred to a mental health facility. In response to a prior order for immediate transfer of A.B. to a mental health facility, the State explained that the state-run facility that they ordinarily utilized for legally incompetent defendants such as A.B. did not have enough physical bed space to promptly treat every patient. The State argues it is under no deadline to transport legally incompetent defendants for treatment. The plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue that the State's failure to adhere to a seven-day deadline imposed by Washington law, RCWA 10.77.220, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and violates both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. On September 12, 2014, the plaintiffs amended their complaint, added three additional named plaintiffs, and sought class certification. The court granted the class certification.

On November 6, 2014, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and a declaration that the defendants' conduct had violated the due process rights of the named the plaintiffs and class members. On December 22, 2014, the court declared:
The Due Process Clause protects the liberty interests of individuals to be free from incarceration absent a criminal conviction, and to receive restorative treatment when they are being incarcerated due to mental incompetence. Defendants' failure to provide timely services to these detainees has caused them to be incarcerated, sometimes for months, in conditions that erode their mental health, causing harm and making it even less likely that they will eventually be able to stand trial. Because this failure violates the due process rights of criminal defendants who are mentally ill or suspected to be mentally ill, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion and declares that Defendants have violated their constitutional rights.
2014 WL 7338747 at *1.

There was a seven-day bench trial in March 2015. The court heard facts to determine what amount of time legally incompetent detainees could be made to wait for transfer to a mental health facility without experiencing a violation of their due process rights.

On April 2, 2015, the court issued a finding of fact and conclusion of law and ordered the defendants to stop violating the class members' constitutional rights by providing timely competency evaluation and restoration services. The court also entered a permanent injunction requiring the provision of competency services within seven days. The court appointed a monitor to ensure that progress toward the timely provision of services is being made. 101 F. Supp. 3d 1010 (W.D. Wash. 2015).

Subsequently, the defendants asked the court to modify the permanent injunction in four ways. On May 6, 2015, the court modified the permanent injunction to allow for a good cause exception to the seven-day timeframe for class members ordered to receive competency services at state hospitals where a class member’s health prevented them from being medically cleared to be transported, despite the defendants’ good faith efforts. The court denied the defendants’ other requests for modification.

The defendants appealed the December 2014 grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the court's judgment, the permanent injunction, and the denial of the defendants' motion to modify the injunction.

On June 22, 2015, the court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs. The court awarded $1,303,169 in fees and costs. The defendants also appealed this decision.

While the appeal was pending, the defendants again asked the district court to modify the permanent injunction. On February 8, 2016, the district court modified the permanent injunction and extended the defendants’ compliance deadline to May 27, 2016, along with other minor changes.

As of February 26, 2016, the defendants' appeal is still pending and monitoring of the defendants' compliance continues.

Anna Dimon - 02/19/2015
Jessica Kincaid - 02/26/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Hospital/Health Department
General
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Confinement/isolation
Improper treatment of mentally ill suspects
Placement in detention facilities
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The Washington State Department of Social and Human Services
The Washington State Department of Social and Human Services
The Washington State Department of Social and Human Services
Plaintiff Description Individuals with mental health disabilities in city and county jails in Washington.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-01178-MJP (W.D. Wash.) 03/22/2016
JC-WA-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/04/2014
JC-WA-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief - Class Action 09/12/2014
JC-WA-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 10/03/2014
JC-WA-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Certifying Class 10/31/2014 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 12/22/2014 (2014 WL 7338747) (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 04/02/2015 (101 F.Supp.3d 1010) (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order on Defendants' Motion for Clarification and Reconsideration 05/06/2015 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs 06/22/2015 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Modifying Permanent Injunction 02/08/2016 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Pechman, Marsha J. (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0011-0004 | JC-WA-0011-0006 | JC-WA-0011-0007 | JC-WA-0011-0008 | JC-WA-0011-0009 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baker, La Rond (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Carlson, David R. (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Carney, Christopher Robert (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Chen, Margaret (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Cooper, Emily (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Dunne, Sarah A. (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Gillespie, Sean P (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Guy, Anna Catherine (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-9000
Isitt, Kenan (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0005 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Khandelwal, Anita (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0002 | JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Pence, Braden Cyrus (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0001 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Coats, Sarah (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Leaders, Amber L. (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
McIlhenny, John K (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Williamson, Nicholas A (Washington)
JC-WA-0011-0003 | JC-WA-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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