Case: Martos v. Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

1:16-cv-21501 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: April 28, 2016

Closed Date: Oct. 24, 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 28, 2016, the disability rights group Disability Rights Florida brought this lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Miami-Dade), on behalf of two deaf persons (Plaintiffs A and B) who had been denied disability-accommodations by Miami-Dade. Plaintiffs alleged that despite knowing of plaintiffs’ disabilities, and despite judicial rulings ordering Miami-Dade to provide plaintiffs with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and other accommodations…

On April 28, 2016, the disability rights group Disability Rights Florida brought this lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Miami-Dade), on behalf of two deaf persons (Plaintiffs A and B) who had been denied disability-accommodations by Miami-Dade. Plaintiffs alleged that despite knowing of plaintiffs’ disabilities, and despite judicial rulings ordering Miami-Dade to provide plaintiffs with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and other accommodations, Miami-Dade consistently failed to do so during their arrests, detentions, and court hearings. The suit is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. §701 et seq.).

Both plaintiffs alleged that they were not provided with ASL interpreters during arrests. This was particularly detrimental because English, even in its written form, was a second language to plaintiffs. They were thus unable to effectively explain or understand complicated legal situations without an ASL interpreter or some other form of specialized communication aid. Plaintiff A alleged that on February 8, 2016, officers in an unmarked car drove to his home, and arrested him without an ASL interpreter, or indeed any communication whatsoever. Plaintiff B alleged that when was arrested on October 13, 2015, he was not provided an ASL interpreter during the arrest or during the recitation of his Miranda rights, and that he was then held at a police station for several hours with no ASL interpreter or other means of communication.

Both plaintiffs also allege that they were not given an ASL interpreter or adequate communication aids during pre-trial legal proceedings. Plaintiff A alleged that on July 9, 2012, when was given an ankle bracelet and sentenced to house-arrest as a condition for his pre-trial release, he was not given an ASL interpreter to explain the rules and regulations relating to his ankle-bracelet. On July 19, 2012, his ankle-bracelet registered an alert, and he was arrested again for violating the conditions of his house-arrest. Plaintiff A also alleged that he signed a waiver of presence agreement for pre-trial sounding and conferences without having an ASL interpreter or communication aid that would have enabled him to understand what signing that waiver meant. Plaintiff B in turn alleged that on October 14, 2015, and again on February 4, 2016 for a separate arrest, he wasn’t provided with an ASL interpreter during his bond hearings. Because of that, he was forced to rely for interpretation on his mother, who had only basic knowledge of sign language, which made presenting his legal case more difficult.

Plaintiff A further alleged that he was not given an ASL interpreter or adequate communication aids while incarcerated and during his probation. He alleged that Miami-Dade’s failure to provide him with an ASL interpreter or communication aids while he was in prison meant that he was unable to understand or participate in prison orientations, medical appointments, mental health appointments, disciplinary hearings, classification reviews, religious services, and educational programs. Moreover, Miami-Dade’s failure to provide either of those during his probation hearing meant that he had to rely on a court attorney as an interpreter to explain complicated legal matters to his own attorney, which made it impossible to speak to his attorney in private.

The plaintiffs sought: (1) a declaration that Miami-Dade violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; (2) a permanent injunction requiring Miami-Dade to end any practices, policies, and/or procedures that serve to deny plaintiffs equal access to Miami-Dade’s services; (3) enforcement and equitable relief to ensure that Miami-Dade continues to provide equal access to its services in the future; and (4) costs and attorneys’ fees. The parties reached a settlement outside of court, and moved jointly for dismissal with prejudice contingent upon the Court's enforcement of the settlement agreement; following this motion, Judge Jose E. Martinez dismissed the case with prejudice and denied all pending motions as moot on October 24, 2016.

According to Disability Rights Florida, the settlement requires Miami-Date County to provide interpreters for all jail programs or services, provide access to video relay phones and TTYs, and repairs and replacement batteries for hearing aids and cochlear processors. The county was also required to train its employees on effective communication with people with deafness and develop procedures for providing accommodations for inmates with deafness.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Ryan Berry (8/10/2016)

Elizabeth Heise (9/29/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4502701/parties/martos-v-miami-dade-county-department-of-corrections-and-rehabilitation/


Judge(s)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Boyer, David Allen (Florida)

Dietz, Matthew Wilson (Florida)

Paris, Molly Jean (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Viciana, Ana Angelica (Florida)

Judge(s)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Boyer, David Allen (Florida)

Dietz, Matthew Wilson (Florida)

Paris, Molly Jean (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Viciana, Ana Angelica (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:16-cv-21501

Docket [PACER]

Oct. 24, 2016

Oct. 24, 2016

Docket
1

1:16-cv-21501

First Complaint

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

Complaint

1:16-cv-21501

Settlement Agreement

Martos v. Miami-Dade County

Sept. 21, 2016

Sept. 21, 2016

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4502701/martos-v-miami-dade-county-department-of-corrections-and-rehabilitation/

Last updated Aug. 2, 2022, 3:21 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATIVE RELIEF against Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Filing fees $ 400.00. Pay.gov Agency Tracking ID 113C-8690795, payment transferred from : 16CV21499 Martos v. Miami-Dade, filed by Joel Martos, Disability Rights Florida, Inc., Joshua Santuche. (Attachments: # 1 Summon(s), # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Boyer, David) (Entered: 04/28/2016)

1 Summon(s)

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

PACER
2

Judge Assignment to Judge Jose E. Martinez (jc) (Entered: 04/28/2016)

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

PACER
3

Clerks Notice pursuant to 28 USC 636(c). Parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman is available to handle any or all proceedings in this case. If agreed, parties should complete and file the attached form. (jc) (Entered: 04/28/2016)

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to Miami-Dade County, Carlos A. Gimenez (jc) (Entered: 04/28/2016)

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

PACER
5

Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 4/28/2016. (dq) (Entered: 04/28/2016)

April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

PACER
6

Certificate of Interested Parties/Corporate Disclosure Statement by Disability Rights Florida, Inc., Joel Martos, Joshua Santuche identifying Corporate Parent Disability Rights Florida, Inc. for Disability Rights Florida, Inc. (Boyer, David) (Entered: 05/01/2016)

May 1, 2016

May 1, 2016

PACER
7

SUMMONS (Affidavit) Returned Executed on 1 Complaint, with a 21 day response/answer filing deadline by Joel Martos, Disability Rights Florida, Inc., Joshua Santuche. Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation served on 5/3/2016, answer due 5/24/2016. (Boyer, David) (Entered: 05/17/2016)

May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016

PACER
8

Unopposed MOTION to Stay Temporarily, or in the Alternative ( Responses due by 6/9/2016), Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply/Answer to Complaint by Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Attorney Ana Angelica Viciana added to party Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation(pty:dft). (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Viciana, Ana) (Entered: 05/23/2016)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016

PACER
9

PAPERLESS ORDER granting 8 Motion to Stay; denying as moot 8 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply/Answer. Pursuant to the parties' agreement, this case is STAYED until July 23, 2016. The parties may move to lift the stay at that time. Upon a lifting of the stay, any unexpired pretrial deadlines will be reset by separate order. The Clerk shall ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSE this case for statistical purposes only. This shall not affect the substantive rights of the parties. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 5/24/2016. (rkn) NOTICE: If there are sealed documents in this case, they may be unsealed after 1 year or as directed by Court Order, unless they have been designated to be permanently sealed. See Local Rule 5.4 and Administrative Order 2014-69. (Entered: 05/24/2016)

May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

PACER
10

STIPULATION of Dismissal JOINT by Joel Martos (Dietz, Matthew) (Entered: 10/18/2016)

Oct. 18, 2016

Oct. 18, 2016

PACER
11

FINAL ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE AND ORDER DENYING ALL PENDING MOTIONS AS MOOT re 10 Stipulation of Dismissal filed by Joel Martos. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 10/24/2016. (gp) (Entered: 10/25/2016)

Oct. 24, 2016

Oct. 24, 2016

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Deaf or Blind in Jail/Prison

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 28, 2016

Closing Date: Oct. 24, 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Disability Independence Group, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and Disability Rights Florida, Florida’s federally-funded Protection and Advocacy organization, on behalf of deaf inmates of the Miami Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Miaimi-Dade (Miami-Dade), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

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

Amount Defendant Pays: 30,000

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Provide antidiscrimination training

Training

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Conditions of confinement

Failure to train

Language access/needs

Phone

Rehabilitation

Discrimination-area:

Training

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Language discrimination

Disability:

Hearing impairment