Case: Lopez v. Riveland

2:93-cv-01030 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Filed Date: July 21, 1993

Closed Date: July 30, 1997

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 21, 1993, eight prisoners housed at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe who did not speak English filed a civil rights complaint pro se in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeking class certification, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. They filed their complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that, contrary to a Department of Corrections directive from 1990 requiring that “[a]ll institutional rules, policies, and other relevant data sha…

On July 21, 1993, eight prisoners housed at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe who did not speak English filed a civil rights complaint pro se in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeking class certification, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. They filed their complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that, contrary to a Department of Corrections directive from 1990 requiring that “[a]ll institutional rules, policies, and other relevant data shall be published in Spanish when they are issued in English,” the Reformatory had no resources available in Spanish. The failure to provide materials in Spanish, the plaintiffs claimed, violated their due process and equal protection rights.

On August 9, 1993, Judge William L. Dwyer referred the case to Magistrate Judge David E. Wilson. The plaintiffs moved to have an attorney appointed for them. But Magistrate Judge Wilson denied their motion, reasoning that they had not met the criteria for the appointment of an attorney, and had seemed able to handle filing the complaint and affidavits on their own.

On September 15, 1993, John B. Midgley appeared as an attorney for some of the plaintiffs. On January 11, 1994, the complaint was amended, removing two of the defendants, and adding the Director of the Division of Prisons of the Washington Department of prisons. One of the plaintiffs was also removed, and several more were added.

Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the Department of Corrections would develop materials, services, and programs in Spanish. Then, “[i]f the parties agree that DOC has provided the agreed materials,” the case would be dismissed with prejudice. The DOC agreed to provide information regarding its progress to plaintiffs’ counsel, as well as outside consultants and experts. The plaintiffs’ counsel also had a right to view translated materials and interview DOC employees. The agreement also specified which documents would be translated into Spanish, specified a timeframe, and provided for translation services and legal resources to be made available in Spanish.

The settlement provided for an 18-month implementation window. The parties stipulated to stay the case while the settlement was implemented on January 23, 1995, and the court agreed to hold the case in abeyance while the parties implemented the settlement on January 30. The settlement agreement also provided for a 12-month enforcement window following implementation during which the plaintiffs could enforce the agreement's provisions.

On October 10, 1996, the parties stipulated to dismiss the case with prejudice, and Judge Dwyer dismissed the case with prejudice that same day.

The enforcement period ended in 1997 without any further docket activity, and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Samuel Poortenga (11/20/2020)

People


Judge(s)

Dwyer, William Lee (Washington)

Wilson, David E. (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carranza, Jose (Washington)

Espinoza, Miguel (Washington)

Gomez, Arturo Hernandez (Washington)

Jimenez, Alfonso (Washington)

Lopez, Salvador (Washington)

Midgley, John (Washington)

Mondragon, Guillermo (Washington)

Morales, Francisco (Washington)

Judge(s)

Dwyer, William Lee (Washington)

Wilson, David E. (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carranza, Jose (Washington)

Espinoza, Miguel (Washington)

Gomez, Arturo Hernandez (Washington)

Jimenez, Alfonso (Washington)

Lopez, Salvador (Washington)

Midgley, John (Washington)

Mondragon, Guillermo (Washington)

Morales, Francisco (Washington)

Sanchez, Cortez (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abolins, Talis M. (Washington)

Gregoire, Christine O. (Washington)

Riveland, Chase (Washington)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

June 29, 2001 Docket

Class Action Civil Rights Complaint with Jury Demand

July 21, 1993 Complaint

STIPULATED MOTION FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

Jan. 17, 2015 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Washington

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 21, 1993

Closing Date: July 30, 1997

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Spanish speaking prisoners in the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe who were unable to speak, read, write, or understand English

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Division of Prisons, State

Washington State Reformatory (Monroe, Snohomish), State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 1995 - 1997

Content of Injunction:

Auditing

Discrimination Prohibition

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reporting

Issues

General:

Language access/needs

Law library access

Discrimination-basis:

Language discrimination

Language:

Spanish

Type of Facility:

Government-run