In 1992 and 1993, a deaf inmate incarcerated at the Washington State Reformatory at Monroe, Washington, filed two pro se suits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District Of Washington contending that prison officials failed to provide him with a qualified interpreter at prison proceedings in violation of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 ("ADA"); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 ("RA"); 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (" § 1983"); and Revised Code of Washington Chapters 2.42.120(1), (2), and (4) ("RCW").
In the first suit filed on October 26, 1992, styled Duffy v. Riveland (92-01596), Duffy challenged the defendants' failure to provide him with a qualified interpreter at a July 30, 1992, prison disciplinary hearing. By order dated January 28, 1994, the District Court (Judge Barbara J. Rothstein) granted summary judgment to the defendants. Duffy appealed.
In the second suit, styled Duffy v. Yost (93-637), Duffy challenged the defendants' failure to provide him with a qualified interpreter at two separate classification hearings. The District Court (Judge Coughenour) granted summary judgment to the defendants on April 19, 1994. Duffy appealed.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated the two cases on appeal and reversed the summary judgments in part (dismissal of ADA, RA, state law claims and § 1983 claims stemming from disciplinary hearing) and affirmed in part (dismissal of § 1983 claims stemming from classification hearings) and remanded the cases for further proceedings. Duffy v. Riveland. 98 F.3d 447 (1996).
On remand, both cases were assigned to District Judge Rothstein. Duffy amended his complaint and then filed a motion for partial summary judgment on his state law claim. On January 14, 1998, the District Court (Judge Barbara Rothstein) granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and held that state law (RCW 2.42.120) required the defendants to provide hearing-impaired inmates with a qualified interpreter at quasi-judicial proceedings. The Court ordered that injunctive relief should be extended to all future disciplinary hearings.
On February 10, 1998, a consolidated class action complaint was filed in the Duffy cases and the case Atkins v. Lehman, also pending in the District. A settlement of all claims followed. The settlement provided for the creation of a new Washington Department of Corrections policy governing treatment of disabled inmates, including provisions relating to providing certified interpreters and TTY access to hearing impaired inmates. In addition to the new policy, the DOC agreed to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees of $150,000.
The District Court approved the class action settlement by order dated September 3, 1998. The settlement class included "All inmates incarcerated in Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities now or in the future who are deaf or whose hearing impairment substantially limits a major life activity."
We have no further information on this matter.Dan Dalton - 02/20/2007
Jessica Kincaid - 07/14/2013