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Case Name Bango v. Pierce County JC-WA-0014
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-06002 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On December 4, 2017, two inmates of Pierce County Jail (PCJ) with mental health issues brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued Pierce County and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The ... read more >
On December 4, 2017, two inmates of Pierce County Jail (PCJ) with mental health issues brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs sued Pierce County and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Washington, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Ronald B. Leighton, and referred to Magistrate Judge David W. Christel.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants violated their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The complaint alleged that the defendants did not adequately screen for mental illness during the booking process or during incarceration, ignored clear signs of mental illness and requests for care and, and, as a result, routinely failed to document serious mental health symptoms, psychiatric medications, and treatment history. As such, the plaintiffs’ mental illnesses were allowed to progress unchecked, leading to hallucinations, delusions, and an increased risk of self-harm. The complaint also alleged that the defendants "routinely warehouse these individuals in solitary confinement for 21 to 24 hours a day," and that they have a formal written policy of placing people with “poor behavioral control due to a mental disorder” in “crisis cells” for 23 hours a day.

On December 21, 2017, after filing and withdrawing two motion to certify class, plaintiffs filed a third motion to certify class, defining the class as “All qualified individuals who have mental illnesses that are disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. §12102 and 29 U.S.C. §705(9)(B), and who are now, or will be in the future, incarcerated at the Pierce County Jail.”

On February 2, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, among other claims, the plaintiffs' §1983 claim of inadequate mental health treatment. The defendants also argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their administration of psychiatric medication upon release claim because they fail to show the existence of an imminent injury.

On March 28, 2018, Judge Leighton granted in part the defendant’s motion to dismiss, dismissing the claims against the named agents of the county but retaining the claims against Pierce County and Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. On May 7, 2018, adopting a report and recommendation by Magistrate Judge Christel, Judge Leighton dismissed the complaint without prejudice for lack of standing.

On May 11, 2018, however, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration and relief from judgment, arguing that the court mistakenly dismissed the entirety of the complaint instead of the limited dismissal (one claim for lack of standing) sought by the defendants. On May 15, 2018, Judge Leighton granted the motion for reconsideration, saying that the dismissal was an inadvertent administrative error.

The case is ongoing. As of May, 21, 2018, the defendants filed their answer to the complaint with the court. The motion to certify class is still pending.

Jake Parker - 05/25/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Rehabilitation
Restraints : physical
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
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.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Pierce County
Plaintiff Description All qualified individuals who have mental illnesses that are disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. §12102 and 29 U.S.C. §705(9)(B), and who are now, or will be in the future, incarcerated at the Pierce County Jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:17-cv-06002-RBL (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint - Class Action for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-WA-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 41]
JC-WA-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Clarification/Reconsideration and Relief From Judgment [ECF# 45]
JC-WA-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Leighton, Ronald B. (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Davis, Antoinette Marie (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-0001 | JC-WA-0014-0003 | JC-WA-0014-9000
Fazio, Janelle Ellen Chase (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-0001 | JC-WA-0014-0003 | JC-WA-0014-9000
Mungia, Salvador A. (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-0001 | JC-WA-0014-0003 | JC-WA-0014-9000
Wolfe, Jessica (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-0001 | JC-WA-0014-0003 | JC-WA-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cornelius, Frank (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-9000
Luna-Green, Michelle (Washington)
JC-WA-0014-9000

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