University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Avitia v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement JC-CA-0127
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-04818-R-SK ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On June 30, 2016 a deaf resident of California, together with the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (“GLAD”), filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs sued the City of Santa Ana under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ... read more >
On June 30, 2016 a deaf resident of California, together with the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (“GLAD”), filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs sued the City of Santa Ana under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ACA”) Title II, the California Disabled Persons Act, and Cal. Govt. Code § 11135, which at relevant parts provides that no person shall be unlawfully denied full and equal access to benefits on the basis of disability. Plaintiffs also sued the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) under Section 504, alleging discrimination based on disability in the Santa Ana City Jail. Represented by private counsel, Plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief.

Citing a total lack of communication services for inmates who are deaf and hard of hearing, such as ASL interpreters or auxiliary aids, Plaintiffs alleged that inmates with hearing disabilities were effectively denied access to the programming and services made available by the jail to the general public. Plaintiff resident alleged that, while ICE officials and the Santa Ana Jail knew she was not fluent in English and was deaf, they never provided her with auxiliary aids or language assistance during her five months at the jail. Because of this failure, she was unable to understand the jail’s procedures, had no means to communicate with people outside of the jail, received improper medical care, and was denied all access to the jail’s educational programming. Furthermore, because the jail failed to communicate to her that she was eligible for bond in June 2015, she stayed an extra five months at the jail.

Later, on December 5, 2016 Defendant City of Santa Ana submitted a request for stay of proceedings and early mediation through the court’s alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) program. Judge Manuel Real referred the case to the ADR program, and the Parties went before a Mediator on February 17, 2017. The case settled fully on the same date. While the terms of the settlement were not made public, an attorney for Plaintiffs made a statement shortly after mediation that Plaintiffs would receive damages in the amount of $140,000. He also referenced injunctive relief that would “prevent what happened to the plaintiffs in this case from happening to another deaf, hard-of-hearing person housed in the Santa Ana city jail.” After the terms of the settlement were carried out, the parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the action with prejudice on May 19, 2017, with each Party to pay their own attorneys’ fees and costs.

Lauren Latterell Powell - 10/08/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
TTY/Close Captioning/etc.
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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
State law
Defendant(s) City of Santa Ana
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs included a deaf resident of California who had spent time at the Santa Ana City Jail and the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD).
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - 2017
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:16-cv-04818-R-SK (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0127-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Relief, Injunctive Relief, and Damages for Violations of... [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0127-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kim, Steve Court not on record [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0127-9000
Real, Manuel Lawrence (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0127-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Almazan, Pablo Alejandro (California)
JC-CA-0127-0001 | JC-CA-0127-9000
Finneman, Trevor J (California)
JC-CA-0127-0001 | JC-CA-0127-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bensing, Daniel (District of Columbia)
JC-CA-0127-9000
Bogosian, Tamara (California)
JC-CA-0127-9000
Han, Chung H (California)
JC-CA-0127-9000

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