University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
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)
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
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 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of ... 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 lawsuit 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 the plaintiffs 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 that 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 sought 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.

On July 21, 2017, the parties stipulated to an agreement that any resulting final judgment of the court would apply to "affected individuals" identifiable as of the date of the judgment. The parties stated the agreement was meant to replace litigating class certification, and they acknowledge that those considered to be "affected individuals" could change over the course of the litigation.

On April 4, 2018, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment. Oral argument on this motion was held on January 31, 2019. In an order issued on March 4, 2019, Judge deGravelles denied summary judgment.

The parties attended a settlement conference in chambers before Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes on March 27, 2019. This conference resulted in an agreement, and case was dismissed on April 1. The settlement included requirements that the defendants amend their policies and practices surrounding five main issues: 1) intake and assessment of affected individuals; 2) provision of qualified interpreters; 3) records retention; 4) training and; 5) grievance procedures. Defendants also agreed to pay $425,000 in attorneys' fees.

As of April 17, 2020, there has been no further action in the docket, but the court retains jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement

Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 12/02/2016
Virginia Weeks - 03/15/2018
- 05/25/2018
Alex Moody - 04/17/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
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 Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 08/16/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:16-cv-00542-JWD-EWD (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2019
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]
Stipulation & Agreement [ECF# 39]
CJ-LA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order [ECF# 93] (371 F.Supp.3d 274) (M.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 102]
CJ-LA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges DeGravelles, John Wheadon (M.D. La.) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0004 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Wilder-Doomes, Erin Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alladi, Om (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-9000
Chopin, Lindsey Harreld (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-9000
Fornaci, Phillip Jerome (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Gorkin, Russell Todd (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-9000
Gulotta, Rachel (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Hahn, Ellen Bentley (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Hirschhorn, Russell L. (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Lospennato, Ronald K (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Meyers, Susan M. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Mincberg, Elliot M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0002
Rea, Madeline Chimento (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0001 | CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Shear, Samantha (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Stratton, Laura Thornton (Kansas) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Thornton, Laura Lee (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Griffin, Susan Wall (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0002 | CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000
Vining, Jonathon (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0003
Wilton, Patricia Hill (Louisiana) show/hide docs
CJ-LA-0004-0001 | CJ-LA-0004-0003 | CJ-LA-0004-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -