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Case Name Johnson v. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department JC-CA-0059
Docket / Court 2:08-cv-03515-DDP-JTL ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection California's Prisoners' Rights Bar article
Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Public Counsel
Case Summary
On May 29, 2008, three prisoners with mobility impairments housed in Los Angeles County jail facilities filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department under the Americans with Disabilities Act and ... read more >
On May 29, 2008, three prisoners with mobility impairments housed in Los Angeles County jail facilities filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. They challenged alleged discrimination against people with disabilities in the Los Angeles County jail system. Represented by private counsel, the Disability Rights Legal Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorney's fees, on the grounds that the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department did not provide an acceptable level of access, services, or accommodations to inmates with disabilities.

The plaintiffs specifically claimed that while being processed there were no accessible bathroom facilities, and that once they were housed in the jail, they were denied physical therapy and outdoor exercise, along with not being allowed to participate in most jail programs. They alleged as well that the jails failed to provide access features in bathrooms such as grab bars in the showers or toilets. Wheelchairs were rarely provided for disabled inmates and, if they were provided, were in a state of disrepair. Finally, the plaintiffs alleged that prisoners' required medications were given inconsistently.

On June 9, 2008, the plaintiffs moved to certify the class and for a preliminary injunction. On August 13, 2008, the parties agreed to stay the proceedings and enter into settlement negotiations. On December 12, 2008, due to the lack of response from the defendants, the plaintiffs filed a request for lift of stay. On June 8, 2009, the court ordered that the stipulated stay would automatically expire on July 9, 2009.

On June 10, 2010, the plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint. On November 12, 2010, the plaintiffs refiled their motion for class certification.

On May 5, 2011, the plaintiffs requested a temporary restraining order enjoining the defendants from disciplining class members for their failure or inability to get out of their wheelchairs. On May 12, 2011, Judge Pregerson denied the plaintiffs' application for a temporary restraining order. 2011 WL 1812746 (C.D. Cal. May 12, 2011).

On October 15, 2012, Judge Pregerson certified a class of "all detainees and inmates with mobility impairments who because of their disabilities, need appropriate accommodations,
modifications, services, and/or physical access in accordance with federal and state disability laws."

The parties again entered into settlement negotiations, and on October 31, 2014, settled the case. The defendants agreed to an enforceable injunction, under which they would provide: access to all programming despite mobility disabilities, physical therapy and outdoor recreation, physical accessibility to the jail, working wheelchairs and prostheses, ADA coordinators on staff, a new grievance form, and reasonable accommodations when requested.

The Agreement provided that it would remain in effect for three years "after which time its provisions will automatically terminate [on April 22, 2018] unless the Court determines that, based on applicable law and specific findings of fact, that it is necessary to extend the duration of this Agreement." Monitoring was set to be performed by the Los Angeles Office of the Inspector General (OIG), an office which was created by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to monitor the County's Custody Services Division and jail facilities as of August 2014. The agreement was court-enforceable, but there were no stipulations relating the underlying facts.

On November 24, 2014, Judge Dean Pregerson preliminarily approved the class settlement. On March 24, 2015, Judge Pregerson granted the plaintiffs' motion for $2,200,000 in attorney's fees and granted final approval of the class settlement.

On June 8, 2015, Judge Pregerson dismissed the case, but retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement as needed. On August 24, 2016, the parties finalized compliance measures to evaluate, track, and report on the county's progress.

On October 6, 2016, OIG filed its first implementation status report of the settlement agreement. It included the county's self-assessment regarding the settlement, indicating that they had completed specific provisions regarding housing expansion, improving accessibility of grievance procedures including an "ADA box," provided wheelchair training to medical professionals, among other changes. The report did not include OIG's analysis regarding whether it agreed that compliance was achieved on specific points. OIG filed its second report on June 30, 2017, finding substantial or sustained compliance on 18 matters, partial compliance on 17, and non-compliance on 2. The non-compliance issues involved the county's continuing practice of disqualifying class members from programming due to mobility impairments, and a failure to maintain and staff a physical therapy room. It noted that four county staff members' primary responsibilities dealt with compliance with this agreement and concluded that systemic reform was achievable.

On December 14, 2017, at the parties' request, Judge Pregerson extended the settlement term by one year, to April 22, 2019. The judge passed away on November 25, 2017. On April 30, 2018, OIG filed its third status report, finding completed, substantial, sustained or partial compliance on all provisions. OIG indicated that systemic issues remained due in large part to inadequate training for ADA coordinators and other custody personnel, and recommended that ADA coordinators take on an expanded role in order to more efficiently work towards compliance. It is unknown which judge will monitor the agreement for the remainder of the term.

Xin Chen - 04/19/2012
Jessica Kincaid - 10/25/2015
Veronica Portillo Heap - 11/21/2018


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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
Hire
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Preliminary relief denied
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Administrative segregation
Bathing and hygiene
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Housing
Recreation / Exercise
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) County of Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Jail
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description People with physical disabilities and disabling mental conditions, who because of those disabilities or conditions need appropriate accommodations, housed in LA County jail facilities.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Hadsell, Stormer & Renick
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Public Counsel
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2015 - 2019
Filing Year 2008
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing JC-CA-0018 : Rutherford v. Block (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
2:08-cv-03515-DDP-JTL (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-CA-0059-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2008
Class Action Motion [ECF# 8]
JC-CA-0059-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion and Notice for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 21]
JC-CA-0059-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memo in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 22]
JC-CA-0059-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 97]
JC-CA-0059-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Memorandum of Points and Authorities [ECF# 107]
JC-CA-0059-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Application for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 151] (2011 WL 1812746) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/12/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement
JC-CA-0059-0008.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/31/2014
Source: ACLU
Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement, Directing Notice to the Class and Scheduling a Fairness Hearing [ECF# 212] (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Reasonable Attorney's Fees (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Settlement [ECF# 220] (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Dismissing Case, with Prejudice, with Retention of Jurisdiction to Enforce the Settlement if Necessary (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0059-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Inspector General's First Implementation Status Report [ECF# 227]
JC-CA-0059-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Inspector General's Second Implementation Status Report [ECF# 229]
JC-CA-0059-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Inspector General's Third Implementation Status Report [ECF# 233]
JC-CA-0059-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hillman, Stephen J. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Pregerson, Dean D. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0009 | JC-CA-0059-0010 | JC-CA-0059-0011 | JC-CA-0059-0012 | JC-CA-0059-0013 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barajas, Maronel (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Bayley, Kevin Michael (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Bhatti, Umbreen (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Bird, Melinda R. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0001 | JC-CA-0059-0003 | JC-CA-0059-0004 | JC-CA-0059-0005 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Dai, Cornelia (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0001 | JC-CA-0059-0004 | JC-CA-0059-0005 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Diaz, Richard Brian (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Eckert, Helen C (California) show/hide docs
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Gipson, Benjamin M (California) show/hide docs
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Green, Tiffany (California) show/hide docs
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Keeny, Christy Virginia (California) show/hide docs
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Martin, Gregory A. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Masters, Anna Segobia (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Parks, Shawna L (California) show/hide docs
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Pearlman, Paula D. (California) show/hide docs
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Price, Jessica G. (California) show/hide docs
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Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California) show/hide docs
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Sagheb, S Shane (California) show/hide docs
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Smerek, Stephen R. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0007 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Stormer, Dan Lewis (California) show/hide docs
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Strugar, Matthew D. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Strugar, Matthew D. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0006 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Teukolsky, Lauren K. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0001 | JC-CA-0059-0003 | JC-CA-0059-0004 | JC-CA-0059-0005 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Ulin, John C. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0001 | JC-CA-0059-0003 | JC-CA-0059-0004 | JC-CA-0059-0005 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Uzeta, Michelle (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Walker, Amanda N (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0001 | JC-CA-0059-0003 | JC-CA-0059-0004 | JC-CA-0059-0005 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Matthew Philip (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Beach, Paul B (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-0008 | JC-CA-0059-9000
Clark, Justin W. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Joynt, Karen C. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0059-9000
Murillo, Tiana J. (California) show/hide docs
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