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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Braggs v. Dunn PC-AL-0035
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00601 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On June 17, 2014, disabled prisoners and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleging that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) violated the Americans with ... read more >
On June 17, 2014, disabled prisoners and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleging that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq., including the ADA Amendment Acts of 2008, 42 U.S.C. § 12001, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Represented by Southern Poverty Law Center, ADAP, and private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged constitutionally inadequate medical care, inadequate mental health treatment and deprivation of due process prior to involuntarily medicating prisoners.

On September 8, 2015 order, the district court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) bifurcated the issues into two phases: Phase 1 would include the trial of issues brought under the Acts and non-mental health claims; and Phase 2 would include just mental health issues.

On March 15, 2016, after two years of extensive discovery, the parties submitted a joint motion for class action settlement, resolving all Phase 1 litigation. The court conducted a hearing on the motion on March 17, 2016.

On May 26, 2016, the parties jointly stipulated to the amended agreement. On June 13, 2016, the preliminary settlement approval order provisionally certified the putative Phase 1 class. The court found that the named plaintiffs have standing and preliminarily certified the putative Phase 1 class, defined as ““any current or future inmate in the physical custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections who has a disability as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 12012 and 29 U.S.C. § 705(9)(B), excluding those inmates whose disabilities relate solely to or arise from mental disease, illness, or defect.” See the Preliminary Settlement Approval Order.

In June 2016, the parties engaged in mediation with Magistrate Judge John Ott to negotiate the remaining claims. Discovery and settlement negotiations proceeded. On August 19, 2016, the plaintiffs moved to certify Phase II class.

On September 9, 2016, the district court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) approved the final settlement agreement in a consent decree. The agreement required the ADOC to:
  • evaluate all facilities that house disabled prisoners, and identify necessary changes.
  • provide reasonable accommodations for disabled prisoners to access the programs.
  • perform initial screening for disabilities and a physical examination; test new prisoners for intellectual and developmental disabilities; and re-evaluate for changes in disability status.
  • not increase a prisoner's security level solely based upon a disability, but have discretion to lower a level based upon a disability.
  • provide auxiliary aids and services to prisoners with hearing and vision impairments.
  • designate employees, create plans, and run drills to evacuate disabled prisoners in the event of an emergency
  • implement a procedure for prisoners' requests for accommodations and appeals of denials and an ADA coordinator for each of its facilities to handle ADA requests, process appeals, produce monthly reports, and assess compliance.
  • provide initial and annual ADA training to correctional officers and enhanced training to ADA coordinators
  • create a quality-assurance program including audits of the identification of disabled prisoners and of accommodation requests.
The agreement also contains the following provisions related to implementation:
  • The ADAP will monitor the ADOC's compliance with the consent decree, and will be entitled to access relevant documents and to conduct interviews with prisoners and staff. The ADAP will prepare quarterly reports and recommendations on the ADOC’s compliance.
  • Claims that the ADOC is not in compliance must be resolved in arbitration.
  • This consent decree will terminate after six years if no extension is granted.
  • The ADOC will pay attorneys’ fees and costs of $1.25 million plus additional fees.

On September 23, 2016, defendants moved for summary judgment on the individual plaintiff’s Phase 2 claims, which was granted in part and denied in part by the court in November of 2016. The district court dismissed six individual plaintiffs’ claims as moot for their transfer or release from a jail moots the individual claim for relief. The court decided to proceed with trial regarding mental-health Eighth Amendment claims and involuntary-medication due-process claims. 2016 WL 6949598 (M.D. Ala. 2016).

On September 28, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a fifth amended complaint, alleging that overcrowding of ADOC facilities was continuing to lead to rapid contagion, and that custodial understaffing led to prisoners missing medical appointments.

On November 25 2016, the district court granted summary judgment to ADAP on the issue of its associational standing under the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act (PAIMI), 42 U.S.C. § 10805; therefore, the court said, ADAP could bring the mental-health care Phase 2A claims. See Dunn v. Dunn, 2016 WL 6949585 (M.D. Ala. 2016). On the same day, the district court certified two classes: (1) a class of all persons with a serious mental-health disorder or illness who are now, or will in the future be, subject to defendants’ mental-health care policies and practices in ADOC facilities; and (2) a class of all persons with a serious mental-health disorder or illness who are now, or will in the future be, subject to defendants’ formal involuntary-medication policies and practices. See Clearinghouse document -0021

Trial for Phase 2A was held in January 2017. On January 11, 2017, the Parties mutually agreed to the Settlement Agreement of Phase 2A Mental Health ADA Claims.
On January 19, 2017, the district court (Judge Thompson) issued a temporary restraining order, to remain in effect until the court finally approved or rejected the parties’ Phase 2 settlement agreement. The order required the ADOC to provide Adaptive Behavior/Life Skills Training for prisoners with intellectual disability, prisoners who meet IQ prong and the Adaptive Behavior, and any other inmate whom ADOC determines would substantially benefit from training. Those prisoners will be assigned a Case Manager to evaluate Program courses on decision making, stress management, communication skill building, risk taking consequences, self help, accessing prison services, and prison rules. See Clearinghouse document -0023

On February 22, 2017, Judge Thompson issued Phase 2A opinion and order preliminarily approving Phase 2 settlement agreement and certified Phase 2 class of “any current or future inmate in the physical custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections who has a disability as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 12012 and 29 U.S.C. § 705(9)(B) relating to or arising from mental disease, illness, or defect.” The order required ADOC to provide notice of the proposed settlement agreement and to collect comments from class members by April 5, 2017. See Clearinghouse document -0022

As of March 21, 2017, the litigation is ongoing. A fairness hearing is set on June 2, 2017. Parties will have the opportunities to file briefs concerning the proposed settlement agreement. The court will determine from whom it intends to hear oral testimony after receiving comments and objections.

Soojin Cha - 07/04/2016
Susie Choi - 03/21/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Hearing impairment
Mental impairment
Mobility impairment
Visual impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Fire safety
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Vision care
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10801
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Alabama Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are individuals and advocacy organization for disabled persons in Alabama.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PC-AL-0036 : Duke v. Dunn (N.D. Ala.)
Additional Resources
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  Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Date: Jun. 4, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
14-cv-00601 (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-AL-0035-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [re: Motion to Compel] [ECF# 133] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 210]
PC-AL-0035-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 223] (2015 WL 4661318) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
New Scheduling Order [ECF# 239] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion [ECF# 258] (2015 WL 5833885) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 318] (2016 WL 324990) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/27/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 322] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Settlement Agreement [ECF# 376]
PC-AL-0035-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 376-1]
PC-AL-0035-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Response to 499 Order [ECF# 508]
PC-AL-0035-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Settlement Agreement [ECF# 518]
PC-AL-0035-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Settlement Approval Order [ECF# 532] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Supplemental Briefing Order [ECF# 534] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Supplemental Briefing Order [ECF# 539] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jointly Prepared Status Report [ECF# 544]
PC-AL-0035-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Phase 1 Final Settlement Approval Opinion and Order [ECF# 727] (95 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1247) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/09/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fifth Amended Complaint [ECF# 805]
PC-AL-0035-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Phase 2A ADAP Summary Judgment Opinion [ECF# 1009] (2016 WL 6949585) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Phase 2A Individual Plaintiffs Summary Judgment Opinion [ECF# 1011] (2016 WL 6949598) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0018.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Phase 2A Class Certification Opinion [ECF# 1013] (317 F.R.D. 634) (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0021.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order Regarding Settlement Phase 2A Mental Health ADA Claims [ECF# 1124] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Phase 2A Opinion and Order Preliminarily Approving ADA Mental Health Settlement Agreement [ECF# 1129] (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Moorer, Terry F. (M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0002 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.)
PC-AL-0035-0004 | PC-AL-0035-0005 | PC-AL-0035-0006 | PC-AL-0035-0007 | PC-AL-0035-0008 | PC-AL-0035-0013 | PC-AL-0035-0014 | PC-AL-0035-0015 | PC-AL-0035-0017 | PC-AL-0035-0018 | PC-AL-0035-0020 | PC-AL-0035-0021 | PC-AL-0035-0022 | PC-AL-0035-0023 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baxter, Glenn Nelson (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019
Borden, Lisa Wright (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Brownstein, Rhonda C. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Cho, Eunice (Georgia)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Clotfelter, Patricia (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Cohen, J. Richard (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Debrosse, Diandra S. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019
Evenson, Rebekah B. (California)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Hackney, James Patrick (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Hardy, Alison (California)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Haskell, Miriam Fahsi (Florida)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Howard, Ebony G. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Kendrick, Corene (New York)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
McCrary, Latasha Lanette (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Menschel, Brooke (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Morris, Maria V. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0011 | PC-AL-0035-0012 | PC-AL-0035-0016 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Mujumdar, Anil A. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019
Norman, Sara Linda (California)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Osorno, Jaqueline (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019
Restrepo, Valentina (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Rosen, Brent L. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Somerville, William G III (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Specter, Donald H. (California)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Van Der Pol, William Jr. (Indiana)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Walsh, Andrew Philip (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0001 | PC-AL-0035-0003 | PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0019 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Zarzaur, Gregory M. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0019
Defendant's Lawyers Addison, Alyce Robertson (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Boyd, David R. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0012 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Coleman, Bryan Arthur (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Corhern, Steven C. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Dorr, Luther Maxwell Jr. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-9000
Edwards, Michael Leon (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Getty, John Eric (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Greggs, Mitchell D. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Han, Susan Nettles (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Hill, Anne A. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Lunsford, William R. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0016 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Marler, Melissa K. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
McAdory, Janine McKinnon (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-9000
McKinnon, Janine A. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Moltz, Evan Patrick (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Naramore, John W. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Reeves, Matthew (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Rogers, Stephen C. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Sees, Elizabeth A. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Shah, Mitesh (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Smith, John Garland (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-0012 | PC-AL-0035-9000
Stewart, Joseph Gordon Jr. (Alabama)
PC-AL-0035-0009 | PC-AL-0035-0010 | PC-AL-0035-9000

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