University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Levy v. Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections CJ-LA-0004
Docket / Court 3:16-cv-00542-JWD-EWD ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On August 16, 2016, probationers and parolees who are deaf or have hearing impairments and who are under the control and supervision of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections ("LDPSC"), brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The ... read more >
On August 16, 2016, probationers and parolees who are deaf or have hearing impairments and who are under the control and supervision of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections ("LDPSC"), brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs sued the LDPSC and its Secretary under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, alleging that the defendants failed to provide the auxiliary aids and services they needed. They alleged that the defendants, by denying them access to auxiliary aids, denied the plaintiffs an equal opportunity to successfully complete their probation and parole and to effectively participate in post-release rehabilitative programs which could (and for at least one plaintiff did) result in a finding that they had violated their probation or parole.

Represented by attorneys from the Advocacy Center, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Proskauer Rose, the plaintiffs asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as attorneys fees, court costs, expert costs, and litigation expenses. They also sought class certification.

The background of the case was that Louisiana had entered a 2008 Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which established procedures to provide auxiliary aids and services to deaf or hard-of-hearing prisoners under the control and supervision of the LDPSC. However, the resolution did not address probationers and parolees, like the plaintiffs in this matter. This is problematic because while on probation and or parole, individuals must comply with certain terms and conditions imposed on them, or be subject to punishment, including an extension of their probation or parole, or incarceration. The plaintiffs alleged here that they were unable to comply with all the terms and conditions of their probation and or parole, or to participate meaningfully in the defendants' programs because the defendants have not ensured effective communication with the plaintiffs by providing the requisite auxiliary aids and services.

As of December 2, 2016, the defendants had filed an answer to the plaintiffs' complaint, and the court set due dates by which the parties should submit expert reports. The Clearinghouse will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 12/02/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Discharge & termination plans
Disparate Impact
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) Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections
Plaintiff Description Probationers and parolees who are deaf or have hearing impairments and who are under the control and supervision of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections ("LDPSC")
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
Date: Aug. 11, 2014
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
3:16-cv-00542-JWD-EWD (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-LA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hahn, Ellen Bentley (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Hirschhorn, Russell L. (New York)
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Meyers, Susan M. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Mincberg, Elliot M. (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0004-0002
Rea, Madeline Chimento (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Griffin, Susan Wall (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Wilton, Patricia Hill (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0004-9000

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