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Case Name Doe v. Hawaii ED-HI-0001
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00550 ( D. Haw. )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On August 11, 2010, the plaintiffs--deaf students who were sexually assaulted by a group of fellow students at a state-run school for the blind and deaf--brought this suit against the State of Hawaii. Represented by private counsel, and suing both individually and on behalf of a class of students ... read more >
On August 11, 2010, the plaintiffs--deaf students who were sexually assaulted by a group of fellow students at a state-run school for the blind and deaf--brought this suit against the State of Hawaii. Represented by private counsel, and suing both individually and on behalf of a class of students sexually assaulted at the school between 2001 and 2013, they filed the case in Hawaii state court requesting damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees.

The lawsuit alleged a hostile environment, discrimination, and denial of benefits under Hawaii state law, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Individuals with Disabilities Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400, et seq.; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq; intentional infliction of emotional distress and physical injury; and for violation of their rights under the Privileges or Immunities and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that they were raped and bullied by a group of fellow students while attending the school, and that the state's lack of adequate supervision and failure to properly handle or report these assaults resulted in the plaintiffs' extreme mental and physical distress.

On September 9, 2011, the defendants removed the case from Hawaii state court to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (Judge Kevin S.C. Chang). On September 13, the state counterclaimed that one of the plaintiffs perpetrated one or more of the assaults alleged in the Complaint; the state argued that this plaintiff's parent could be held liable for the conduct under a negligence theory. The state also sought leave to file a third-party complaint claiming that individual student attackers should be held liable for all of plaintiffs' claims against them; the Court allowed the third-party complaint to be filed.

One of the individual defendants named in the action filed a third party complaint (later amended) and cross-claim a couple of weeks later, on September 21, 2011. The individual defendant also filed a motion for a protective order, which was denied on October 14, 2011. See Doe v. Hawaii, 2011 WL 4954606 (D. Haw. Oct. 14, 2011).

Four individuals and the Hawaii Office of the Public Guardian intervened in the action on behalf of the plaintiffs on April 11, 2012. On September 5, 2012, three additional individuals were joined in the action as plaintiffs-in-intervention.

The case then settled. On February 19, 2013, the Court granted the plaintiffs' consolidated joint motion to certify a class and approve the notice of proposed settlement. On April 22, the Court approved the settlement and the plaintiffs-in-intervention's motion for approval of attorney fees and costs, awarding the plaintiffs $527,925.40. On May 6, 2013, the Court entered a stipulation to amend the order approving settlement and granting motions for attorneys' fees and costs, awarding the class a total of $5,750,000.

In addition to the damages, the settlement agreement contained substantial injunctive relief. It required that the state undertake specific reforms, including reporting, training, and hiring requirements and improved monitoring of school grounds and buses. Malia Zimmerman, $5.75 Million Settlement Awarded to Deaf and Blind Students Sexually Assaulted by Gang at Hawaii Public School, Hawaii Reporter (Feb. 24, 2013), The amended agreement also provided for attorneys' fees and costs for the class counsel in an amount not to exceed $1 million.

Stella Cernak - 04/06/2014
Daniel Fryer - 02/01/2016

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Hearing impairment
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Records Disclosure
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
State law
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) The State of Hawaii
Plaintiff Description Deaf students who were sexually assaulted by fellow students while attending a state-run school for the deaf and blind.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Filing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
1:11−cv−00550 (D. Haw.)
ED-HI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint (2011 WL 10953408)
ED-HI-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/25/2011
Source: Westlaw
Complaint [ECF# 13-3]
ED-HI-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/13/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Party Complaint [on behalf of Hawaii] [ECF# 14]
ED-HI-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Defendant's Motion for Protective Order] [ECF# 46] (D. Haw.)
ED-HI-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Scott O'Neal's First Amended Third-Party Complaint Against Roxsanne Tomita (2011 WL 10953406)
ED-HI-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/03/2011
Source: Westlaw
Order [Granting Class Certification] [ECF# 120] (D. Haw.)
ED-HI-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Settlement and Granting Motions for Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 144] (D. Haw.)
ED-HI-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Action Settlement Agreement (2013 WL 4771740)
ED-HI-0001-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/06/2013
Source: Westlaw
Judges Chang, Kevin S.C. (D. Haw.)
ED-HI-0001-0006 | ED-HI-0001-0007 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Ezra, David Alan (D. Haw.)
Monitors/Masters Amano, Riki May (Hawaii)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Belatti, Della A. (Hawaii)
Bouslog, Christopher S. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Green, Michael Jay (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0001 | ED-HI-0001-0002 | ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Kim, Ronald N.W. (Hawaii)
Rapp, John (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Seitz, Eric A. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Uesugi, Glenn H. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0001 | ED-HI-0001-0002 | ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Emerson, Deborah Day (Hawaii)
Ferm, Dennis K. (Hawaii)
Fitzgerald, C. Bryan (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Henderson, Harvey E. Jr. (Hawaii)
Inagaki, Caron M. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0003 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Kimura, Jordan Jun (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0005 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Mansfield, Kenneth J. (Hawaii)
Molay, John F. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0003 | ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Schmitt, Randall K. (Hawaii)
ED-HI-0001-0005 | ED-HI-0001-0008 | ED-HI-0001-9000
Shikada, Holly T. (Hawaii)

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