University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name H.C. v. Bradshaw JC-FL-0023
Docket / Court 9:18-cv-80810 ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
Three children charged as adults who were being or had been held in solitary confinement in Palm Beach County Jail filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach) on June 21, 2018. They sued the Palm Beach County ... read more >
Three children charged as adults who were being or had been held in solitary confinement in Palm Beach County Jail filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach) on June 21, 2018. They sued the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and School Board under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") (20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq.), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §§ 794 et seq.) , Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (42 U.S.C. § 12132), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Human Rights Defense Center, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Education Advocacy Project, and private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had violated their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, the ADA, IDEA, and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, damages, and attorney’s fees.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs challenged Palm Beach County's use of solitary confinement against minors, the conditions of the solitary confinement, and the lack of educational opportunities available to children in solitary confinement. The plaintiffs alleged that many of the children placed in solitary confinement had mental health issues or other disabilities, did not have access to any educational programs and services while in solitary confinement, and did not receive accommodations for their documented disabilities. The complaint also alleged poor treatment in general, including lack of access to clean drinking water, medical care, and recreational facilities. Many of the named plaintiffs alleged long-lasting repercussions from the conditions they experienced while in solitary confinement. In addition, the complaint alleged that some children were placed in solitary confinement without an explanation and did not have the ability to challenge their placement.

This case was assigned to Judge William P. Dimitrouleas. On the same day the complaint was filed, the plaintiffs moved for class certification and for a preliminary injunction. Also on June 21, Judge Dimitrouleas denied the class certification motion as premature. The defendants moved to dismiss on July 20, which Judge Dimitrouleas denied as moot on August 3 after the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that dropped one named plaintiff. The defendants moved to dismiss again.

The United States filed a statement of interest on October 1, 2018 under 28 U.S.C. § 517 that explained its view on the scope of IDEA’s protections, although the government did not take a position on whether the defendants had violated the IDEA in this case.

The case was referred to Magistrate Judge William Matthewman on November 1. Meanwhile, the parties began to work on a settlement.

On November 16, 2018, Magistrate Judge Matthewman granted both the preliminary approval of a Settlement Agreement the parties submitted and conditional certification of a class defined as “all present and future juveniles (i.e. individuals under the age of 18 and charged as adults) who are now or will be incarcerated in segregated housing while in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office." Additionally, there were 2 proposed settlement subclasses:
a) all present and future juveniles (i.e. individuals under the age of 18 and charged as adults) with disabilities, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, who are now or will be incarcerated in segregated housing while in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office and are in need of special education evaluation, instruction, accommodations, and related services (“IDEA subclass”); and
b) all present and future juveniles (i.e. individuals under the age of 18 and charged as adults) with disabilities, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, who are now or will be incarcerated in segregated housing while in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office (“ADA and 504 Subclass”).
The proposed settlement required, among other things:
- Recreation and showers seven days a week, and no unreasonable withholding of phone or visitation privileges;
- any juvenile classified into segregated housing for any reason, other than protective custody, shall be allowed out of their cells throughout the regular school day with other juveniles in general population so long as there are no co-defendants or keep-separates in the same housing pod;
- On weekends and holidays the Sheriff’s Office shall utilize an expanded rotation schedule for co-defendants that allows for greater time in facility accommodations to minimize the duration of time spent in segregated housing;
- the Sheriff’s Office and the School Board shall confer to determine how best to allow equal access, including any accommodations, to juvenile educational services and programming outside of the segregation cell; maintain notes and documentation of these conferences; and refer the juvenile to a mental health professional for an evaluation and to determine a need for any accommodations;
- juveniles who refused educational services and programming shall be given another opportunity to participate prior to each period.
The agreement was set to last at least five years. The agreement also provided that experts would monitor compliance, and the defendants would provide documents and access to facilitate monitoring. For reasons that are unclear to the Clearinghouse, the monitoring was set to last for only two years despite the agreement's five-year term.

A Fairness Hearing was scheduled for March 5, 2019.

On February 28, 2019, the parties filed a joint motion for approval of the Settlement Agreement and certification of the class. Judge Matthewman approved the settlement and dismissed the case on March 6, 2019, but the court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.

On April 19, 2019, the plaintiff moved for $606,526.00 in attorney’s fees and $39,296.78 in costs. The defendants responded that only $260,690.50 in fees and $131.33 in costs were appropriate. On October 19, 2019, Judge Matthewman issued an order granting $390,959.00 in fees and $29,724.53 in costs. Judge Matthewman rejected the plaintiff’s use of a blended rate of $525 per hour for all attorneys on the case, and instead arrived at the $390,959.00 figure based on individualized calculations for each attorney and paralegal involved using rates ranging from $150 per hour to $400 per hour.

As of October 3, 2019, the settlement agreement remains in force, and the case is ongoing.

Elizabeth Heise - 10/02/2018
Lisa Koo - 03/03/2019
Nora Baty - 10/08/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Recordkeeping
Defendant-type
Corrections
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Education
Excessive force
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Juveniles
Language access/needs
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Search policies
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Special education
Strip search policy
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
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.
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Palm Beach County School District
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description Minors currently or previously held in solitary confinement at Palm Beach County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2019 - 2024
Filed 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Sheriff to end solitary confinement for teens at Palm Beach County jail under settlement
Date: November 2018
By: John Pacenti (The Palm Beach Post)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D. Fla. 9:18-cv-80810
JC-FL-0023-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/03/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Fla.
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-FL-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Order Denying Without Prejudice Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 11]
JC-FL-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 38]
JC-FL-0023-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Statement of Interest of the United States of America [ECF# 71]
JC-FL-0023-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 78-1]
JC-FL-0023-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Order Granting Joint Motion to Conditionally Certify Class, Preliminary Approve Class Settlement, Appoint Class Counsel, and Set Fairness Hearing [DE 78] [ECF# 79]
JC-FL-0023-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' Verified Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs [ECF# 100] (426 F.Supp.3d 1266)
JC-FL-0023-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/10/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dimitrouleas, William P. (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0002
Matthewman, William Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0004 | JC-FL-0023-0007 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Duncan, Melissa Marie (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0001 | JC-FL-0023-0003 | JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Leopold, Theodore J. (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0001 | JC-FL-0023-0003 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Martin, Diana Leigh (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0001 | JC-FL-0023-0003 | JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Mutamba, Masimba (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0001 | JC-FL-0023-0003 | JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bell, Jon Erik (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Carmona, Lisa A. (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Giuffreda, Richard A (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Jisa, Adriana Mihaela (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Pincus, Laura Esterman (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0005 | JC-FL-0023-9000
Other Lawyers Cuncannan, Jacqueline (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0006
Gore, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0006
Jackson, Shelley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0006
Marks, Megan R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0006
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0023-0006

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