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Case Name Cole v. County of Santa Clara JC-CA-0132
Docket / Court 3:16-cv-06594 LHK ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On November 14, 2016, five prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail system with mobility disabilities filed this class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs sued the County of Santa Clara under the American with Disabilities Act, the ... read more >
On November 14, 2016, five prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail system with mobility disabilities filed this class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs sued the County of Santa Clara under the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and state law. The plaintiffs, represented by Disability Rights Advocates and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, sought declaratory relief that the County had violated their rights and injunctive relief prohibiting further violations. The plaintiffs claimed that the Santa Clara County Jail system did not provide adequate facilities for people with mobility disabilities. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that they were kept in restrictive medical units which prevented them from using jail facilities and common areas, were denied access to educational, religious, and rehabilitative programming due to their disabilities, were often denied access to devices intended to increase their mobility (including wheelchairs and canes), and did not have access to a functional grievance system to report any of these circumstances.

On April 13, 2017, the case was referred to mediation. From August 17, 2017 to May 31, 2018, Magistrate Judge Nathaniel M. Cousins presided over nine settlement conferences.

The parties' joint motion for class certification was approved by Judge Lucy H. Koh on February 6, 2018. The class of plaintiffs was defined as “[a]ll individuals with mobility disabilities who are now, or will be in the future, incarcerated in the Santa Clara County Jails, which consist of three facilities: (1) the Santa Clara County Main Jail Complex (“Main Jail”), consisting of Main Jail North and Main Jail South, in San Jose, California; (2) facilities for male inmates at the Elmwood Correctional Complex in Milpitas, California (“Elmwood”); and (3) the Elmwood Complex Women’s Facility in Milpitas, California.”

Following class certification, the parties jointly moved for a preliminary class settlement on November 13, 2018. The preliminary settlement was approved by Judge Koh, and a joint motion for approval of a final settlement was made on January 14, 2019. The court granted approval on March 21, 2019. The settlement consisted of a consent decree that required Santa Clara County to make physical improvements to the jail system so that the jails would be accessible to inmates with mobility disabilities.

The consent decree also directed Santa Clara County to incorporate features into a new jail, then under construction, so that the facility would be accessible when it was completed. The decree was administered by monitors who were to be chosen after the settlement was approved. The decree extends until one year after the completion of the new facility. The consent decree also provided for an attorney fee award for work performed prior to the consent decree, as well as work performed in the future until the expiration of the decree.

Because the new jail is still under construction, this case is still ongoing.

Brian Remlinger - 04/01/2019
Justin Hill - 10/02/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Barrier Removal
Conditions of confinement
Grievance Procedures
Law library access
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 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) County of Santa Clara
County of Santa Clara Office of the Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Five jail inmates with disabilities that restrict their mobility.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
5:16−cv−06594−LHK (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0132-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0132-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 38] (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0132-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Consent Decree
JC-CA-0132-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/13/2018
CLASS ACTION [PROPOSED] CONSENT DECREE [ECF# 72]
JC-CA-0132-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cousins, Nathanael M. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0001 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Koh, Lucy Haeran (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0001 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0003 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Grunfeld, Gay Crosthwait (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Iorio, Michelle B (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Janssen, Kara J. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Shinn-Krantz, Marc J (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Smith, Mary-Lee Kimber (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0003 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feldman, Emily L (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Harris, Aryn (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Press, Douglas M (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Williams, James R. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004

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