University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Clark v. Wilson PC-CA-0005
Docket / Court 3:96-cv-01486-CRB ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection California's Prisoners' Rights Bar article
Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
On April 22, 1996, two inmates with developmental disabilities, incarcerated within facilities run by the California Department of Corrections (CDC), filed a class action lawsuit n the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with ... read more >
On April 22, 1996, two inmates with developmental disabilities, incarcerated within facilities run by the California Department of Corrections (CDC), filed a class action lawsuit n the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act (RA), against the State of California, Governor, CDC and prison officials. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prison Law Office, the Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, alleging that the defendants violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clause, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants discriminated against them because of their disabilities, that their living conditions constituted cruel and unusual punishment and that the defendants had deprived them of due process.

On October 1, 1996, Judge Fern M. Smith denied the defendants' motions to dismiss the Rehab. Act, ADA, equal protection and Eighth Amendment claims and granted, in part, the defendants' motion to dismiss the due process claims, allowing the plaintiffs to amend their complaint with respect to the due process claim. The defendants appealed. Clark v. State, 1996 WL 628221 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 1, 1996).

On February 26, 1997, Judge Smith certified a class consisting of all present and future individuals with developmental disabilities under the control of the CDC. In January 1998, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding additional plaintiffs. Extensive discovery followed.

On May 11, 1998, Judge Smith granted in part and denied in part the State defendants' motion for summary judgment. Judge Smith granted summary judgment on and dismissed the equal protection claims, and denied motions with respect to exhaustion of administrative and state remedies as well as for standing. Judge Smith also denied the defendants' motion to decertify the class. Clark v. State of Calif., 1998 WL 242688 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 1998).

Prior to the scheduled trial date, the parties engaged in negotiations under the supervision of Judge Eugene Lynch. The negotiations resulted in an interim agreement and stipulation that was filed on July 20, 1998. The interim agreement provided for, among other things, improved education, vocational programs, medical care, housing, and staff assistance for inmates with developmental disabilities. This plan was subject to negotiations between the parties and evaluation by court appointed experts.

On August 18, 1998, Judge Smith appointed Peter Leone, Ph.D., and Melissa G. Warren, Ph.D. to be the court's experts to evaluate the defendants' compliance with the agreement, and filed a settlement agreement, implementing the interim agreement subject to monitoring by the plaintiffs' counsel and evaluation by the court's experts.

On October 9, 1998, Judge Smith entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $2.8 million for attorneys' fees for all work performed before the execution of the interim agreement and stipulation.

Between December 1999, and February 2002, other district court Judges Charles R. Breyer and Phyllis J. Hamilton approved various amendments to the settlement agreement. In March 2002, the CDC issued a comprehensive remedial plan which was adopted by the court. The remedial plan included detailed policies and procedures to assure identification, appropriate classification, housing, protection and nondiscrimination of inmates/parolees with developmental disabilities.

On December 3, 2001, the parties signed a settlement agreement granting relief to the plaintiff class. The defendants admitted "that they [had] violated the federal rights of plaintiffs in a manner sufficient to warrant the relief contained herein." Implementation and modifications to the 2002 remedial plan continued through 2007.

In July 2009 the defendants filed a motion to terminate the settlement agreement, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act and Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 60(b). The defendants declared that they were no longer violating the federal rights of prisoners with developmental disabilities, and that continued relief was no longer necessary because of these violations. On August 13, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce judgment. There was no dispute as to the utility of the settlement agreement and the clark remedial plan. What was in dispute, however, was whether the order requiring compliance with the plan, including monitoring by the plaintiffs' counsel and the court's experts, was necessary. Investigating this issue, one of the court's experts conducted a review of the treatment of developmentally disabled prisoners and found that developmentally disabled inmates did not receive the protections and supports as described in the clark remedial plan.

On September 16, 2010, the District Court denied in part and granted in part the defendants' motion for relief. The court also granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs' motion for further relief. The court found termination of the entire settlement agreement unwarranted because ongoing violations of federal constitutional and statutory rights supported the continuation of relief. However, not all of the provisions of the settlement agreement were sufficiently narrowly drawn to meet the standards of the Prison Litigation Report Act (PLRA), so these provisions were terminated. In addition to upholding the majority of the settlement agreement, the court issued further remedial orders including staff training, better identification of class members by the defendants, and self-monitoring by the Defendants on their progress. Clark v. California, 739 F. Supp. 2d 1168 (N.D. Cal. 2010). On December 29, 2010, the court granted the plaintiffs' attorneys $2.3 million in fees.

As of July 15, 2014, the court continues to monitor the defendants.

David Priddy - 07/17/2011
Jessica Kincaid - 07/15/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Counseling
Education
Rehabilitation
Sanitation / living conditions
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Medical care, general
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 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) California Department of Corrections
State of California
Plaintiff Description Developmentally disabled inmates incarcerated by the California Department of Corrections
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1998 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
C-96-1486 (N.D. Cal.) 07/18/2014
PC-CA-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Denying in Part, Granting in Part, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 10/01/1996 (1996 WL 628221) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Second Amended Class Action Complaint for Violations of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Under S1983 for Violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments 01/01/1998
PC-CA-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 05/11/1998 (1998 WL 242688) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0011 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Interim Agreement and Stipulation; Order Appointing Experts and Prescribing Duties 07/20/1998
PC-CA-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement and Order 12/03/2001
PC-CA-0005-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Remedial Plan 03/01/2002
PC-CA-0005-0003 PDF | Detail
On the Status of Inmates with Developmental Disabilities In the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 02/15/2010 (2010 WL 4268116)
PC-CA-0005-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
July 2010 Report of Division of Adult Institution's Leone Report Review Team 07/23/2010 (2010 WL 4268115)
PC-CA-0005-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Surreply 08/13/2010 (2010 WL 4229736)
PC-CA-0005-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
[Proposed] Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 08/26/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/26/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 09/16/2010 (739 F.Supp.2d 1168) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation Regarding Attorney's Fees; Order 01/03/2011
PC-CA-0005-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Stipulation Regarding Plaintiffs' Counsel's Participation in Defendants' Strike Teams; Order 07/19/2011
PC-CA-0005-0014 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation Regarding Joint Interviews Conducted by the Parties as Part of the Joint Monitoring and/or Auditing Process; Order 07/18/2014
PC-CA-0005-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0004 | PC-CA-0005-0005 | PC-CA-0005-0009 | PC-CA-0005-0010 | PC-CA-0005-0014 | PC-CA-0005-0015 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Smith, Fern M. (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-0011 | PC-CA-0005-0012 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Vadas, Nandor J. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chavez, Mark A. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001 | PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Godbold, Penny (California)
PC-CA-0005-9000
Hanson, Shawn A. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001 | PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Lipton, Diane (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001
MacKay, Heather (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001 | PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Mayerson, Arlene Brynne (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001
Mitchell, Caroline N. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001 | PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-0006 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Norman, Sara Linda (California)
PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-0014 | PC-CA-0005-0015 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Roberts, Douglas (California)
PC-CA-0005-9000
Sak, Adam E. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001
Schonfeld, Zoe (California)
PC-CA-0005-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0001 | PC-CA-0005-0002 | PC-CA-0005-0010 | PC-CA-0005-0010 | PC-CA-0005-0013 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)
PC-CA-0005-0002
Jenkins, William (California)
PC-CA-0005-9000
Mather, Scott C. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0010
O'Bannon, Danielle Felice (California)
PC-CA-0005-0015 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Quinn, Michael James (California)
PC-CA-0005-9000
Siggins, Peter J. (California)
PC-CA-0005-0002
Zelidon-Zepeda, Jose Alfonso (California)
PC-CA-0005-0013 | PC-CA-0005-0014 | PC-CA-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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