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Case Name Henderson v. Thomas PC-AL-0033
Docket / Court 2:11-cv-00224-MHT-WC ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On March 28, 2011, a class of HIV-positive men and women imprisoned by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On March 28, 2011, a class of HIV-positive men and women imprisoned by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Alabama, the national ACLU, the ACLU AIDS Project, and the ACLU National Prison Project, sought declaratory and injunctive relief and class certification.

The plaintiffs alleged that the ADOC's policy of segregating HIV-positive prisoners from the rest of the general population violated the ADA. Specifically, they alleged that the ADOC did not provide those prisoners with equal treatment because they excluded them from certain housing units, substance abuse programs, jobs, certain medical treatment, and work release. Additionally, the plaintiffs challenged the ADOC policy of publicizing the prisoners' HIV-positive status by requiring them to wear white armbands, stigmatizing those with HIV.

On August 30, 2012, the District Court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) approved the plaintiff's motion to certify the class, finding that the requirements for class certification had been met (289 F.R.D. 506). The class definition was "all present and future and future HIV positive inmates incarcerated in ADOC prisons."

On September 5, 2012, Judge Thompson denied the defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In this ruling, Judge Thompson found that the plaintiffs "plausibly alleged" that the prisoners' HIV status qualified as an impairment that substantially limited a major life ability, as required under the definition of disability under the ADA, because the immune system of the person diagnosed was impaired. He also found that the claim under the Rehabilitation Act was sufficient because HIV did not fall under the Act's contagious disease exception. Judge Thompson also held that the plaintiffs did not need to exhaust their administrative remedies, as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, because the prison did not provide appropriate forms for the prisoners to use to file administrative grievances. Finally, he held that sovereign immunity did not apply, and thus the ADOC could be sued. 891 F. Supp. 2d 1296.

On December 21, 2012, Judge Thompson held that the policies of the ADOC did violate the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. After finding that the plaintiffs had standing to sue and that their claims were not moot, Judge Thompson held that the blanket policy of segregation violated the two acts and that housing HIV-positive inmates at other facilities would not pose an undue burden on the state. The court did not address the allegations regarding the work release policy. 2012 WL 6681773.

On August 1, 2013, the parties reached a preliminary settlement. On August 6, the court preliminarily approved the proposed settlement agreement. Under the terms of the detailed agreement, the defendant agreed to the following: discontinuation of separate HIV housing and isolation at intake; revision of all HIV-specific policies and protocols; maintenance of an Acute Care Unit for inmate care; implementation of a detailed procedure before any HIV-positive inmate is transferred to defendant's facilities; adoption of new hiring and reporting requirements; and payment of $1.3 million in attorneys fees.

A consent decree entering the final approval of the parties' settlement was issued on September 30, 2013, and the court retained jurisdiction over the case. This primary agreement covered 14 of the 29 facilities in the state, and was developed in addition to a private agreement on the other 15 facilities. Both settlements had June 30, 2015 as expiration date (the private agreement followed the date set for the primary agreement).

On December 08, 2015, the defendants were ordered to pay $ 99,000.00 in additional attorney’s fees, regarding the work done since the entry of the consent decree.

After the payment of the additional fees, the case was dismissed in its entirety with prejudice on January 8, 2016. On April 8, 2016, a motion to reopen the case was denied, and Judge Thompson reiterated that this litigation was over.

The case is closed.

Jonathan Forman - 07/05/2013
Priyah Kaul - 11/18/2014
Marcella Pereira Ferraro - 05/17/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Confidentiality
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Pattern or Practice
Placement in detention facilities
Work release or work assignments
Medical/Mental Health
HIV/AIDS
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) Alabama Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description A class of all current and future prisoners under supervision of the Alabama Department of Corrections who have tested positive for HIV.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2013 - 2016
Filing Year 2011
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:11-cv-00224-MHT-WC (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-AL-0033-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/28/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 31]
PC-AL-0033-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 61]
PC-AL-0033-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 188] (289 F.R.D. 506) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/30/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 199] (891 F.Supp.2d 1296) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/05/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Appeal Magistrate Judge's Order [ECF# 201]
PC-AL-0033-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Urgent Motion for Ruling from District Judge Myron H. Thompson on Plaintiffs’ Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s Order (DOC. NO. 201) [ECF# 205]
PC-AL-0033-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/06/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’ Objections to Defendants’ Witness and Exhibit List [ECF# 221]
PC-AL-0033-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 223] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (2012 WL 6681773) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/21/2012
Source: District Court
Judgment [ECF# 250] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Preliminarily Approving Parties' Proposed Settlement Agreement [ECF# 287] (2013 WL 11318845) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 305] (2013 WL 5493197) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order [ECF# 306] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0033-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fairness Hearing [ECF# 312]
PC-AL-0033-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Evidentiary Hearing [ECF# 313]
PC-AL-0033-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Capel, Wallace Jr. (M.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0002 | PC-AL-0033-0003 | PC-AL-0033-0006 | PC-AL-0033-0008 | PC-AL-0033-0011 | PC-AL-0033-0012 | PC-AL-0033-0015 | PC-AL-0033-0016 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Eber, Gabriel B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Goad, Amanda C. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0004 | PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Marshall, Randall C. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Neal, Allison Eichenfeld (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0001 | PC-AL-0033-0009 | PC-AL-0033-0010 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Saxe, Rose A. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0001 | PC-AL-0033-0004 | PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-0009 | PC-AL-0033-0010 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Segall, Robert D. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0001 | PC-AL-0033-0004 | PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-0009 | PC-AL-0033-0010 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Shapiro, David M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Takei, Carl (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0001 | PC-AL-0033-0004 | PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-0009 | PC-AL-0033-0010 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Wedekind, Jennifer A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Winter, Margaret (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-0001 | PC-AL-0033-0004 | PC-AL-0033-0005 | PC-AL-0033-0007 | PC-AL-0033-0009 | PC-AL-0033-0010 | PC-AL-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Block, David B. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Greggs, Mitchell D. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Hill, Anne A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Lunsford, William R. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
McKinnon, Janine A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Rouse, Scott Lee (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Sees, Elizabeth A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000
Shah, Mitesh (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-AL-0033-9000

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