Case: U.S. v. Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority

2:20-cv-00410 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Filed Date: Aug. 5, 2020

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

After a two-year investigation initiated in December 2016 under CRIPA and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a Notice on December 19, 2018 concluding that the Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority (“HRRJ”) failed to provide constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care to prisoners and placed prisoners with serious mental illness in restrictive housing for prolonged periods of time. The DOJ also concluded that HRRJ’s housing…

After a two-year investigation initiated in December 2016 under CRIPA and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a Notice on December 19, 2018 concluding that the Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority (“HRRJ”) failed to provide constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care to prisoners and placed prisoners with serious mental illness in restrictive housing for prolonged periods of time. The DOJ also concluded that HRRJ’s housing practices discriminate against prisoners with mental health disabilities in violation of the ADA.

In the Notice, the DOJ set forth factual findings about the conditions at HRRJ that violated prisoners’ constitutional rights. Principally, the DOJ found that medical and mental health care at HRRJ was constitutionally inadequate. In all stages of medical and mental health care (including patient intake, chronic care and emergency care, treatment and therapy, continuity of care, and security and care for suicidal prisoners), the quality of care and access to care was found to be severely deficient, subjecting prisoners to a serious risk of harm due to delays and lack of care. The DOJ also found a lack of oversight and accountability and a deliberate indifference by HRRJ officials in identifying and mitigating risks. Furthermore, HRRJ utilized prolonged restrictive housing which disparately affects prisoners with mental illnesses, thereby denying them access to activities and programming that they would otherwise be eligible for, and putting them at risk for serious harm. Officials at HRRJ knew of these substantial shortcomings and the associated risks and failed to take appropriate action.

On August 5, 2020, the DOJ filed this lawsuit against HRRJ in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia based on the findings in the December 2018 report and HRRJ’s subsequent failure to take sufficient remedial steps. The DOJ alleges that HRRJ’s policies and practices violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of prisoners. As a result, the DOJ asked Judge Rebecca Beach Smith to declare that HRRJ’s practices violated the constitutional rights of prisoners and violated the ADA, and to enjoin HRRJ to take immediate action to amend its policies and practices to ensure that lawful conditions of confinement are afforded to prisoners.

By the time that the complaint was filed, the parties had already negotiated a settlement. On the same day as the complaint was filed, the parties filed a joint settlement motion. In the settlement agreement, HRRJ agreed to implement a comprehensive list of reforms including appropriate screening and assessment for medical and mental health needs by qualified professionals, adequate treatment planning for medical and mental health concerns, suicide prevention practices, specialized mental health housing units, oversight of restrictive housing placement, increased medical and mental health staff, increased training for staff, increased collaboration between mental health staff and jail leadership, and a Quality Assurance program to identify and correct deficiencies with the medical and mental health care system to be overseen by a Quality Assurance Committee which will provide monthly reports to the monitor and the DOJ.

The settlement agreement noted that HRRJ would designate an Agreement Coordinator to coordinate compliance with the agreement. HRRJ agreed to create annual Implementation Plans to describe how it will fulfill its obligations under the agreement, including deadlines within the first year by which HRRJ must draft or revise policies and procedures, complete a staffing plan, develop and deliver training to HRRJ staff, develop and implement a Quality Improvement Committee, and develop and implement monthly quality assurance mechanisms to report on data relevant to prevent to prevent or minimize harm to prisoners.

A key provision of the settlement agreement was the mandatory appointment of an independent third-party monitor, to oversee HRRJ’s compliance with the agreement. The monitor was agreed to be retained for a period of three years and provide biannual status reports to the DOJ, HRRJ and the court. The monitor would also undertake compliance reviews, on-site inspections and issue monitor reports every six months to assess compliance and HRRJ’s progress on the various reform efforts. The reports will also be filed with the court. In the event of noncompliance with the agreement, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia retains jurisdiction to enforce the agreement at the request of the DOJ.

On August 31, 2020, the court approved the settlement agreement and subsequently, on September 10, 2020, the court approved the appointment of James Conrad Welch to be the third-party monitor. The settlement agreement is effective as of August 31, 2020.

By the terms of the agreement, HRRJ will implement all provisions of the agreement within four years and the agreement will terminate in five years, so long as HRRJ has attained substantial compliance with the agreement and maintained that compliance for at least one year. HRRJ will have the burden to prove that it has achieved and maintained substantial compliance with the agreement and has been operating in accordance with the requirements of the ADA and the U.S. Constitution continuously for one year. The agreement will terminate by order of the court.

As such, this case remains ongoing.

Summary Authors

Rebecca Fisher (9/16/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17418108/parties/united-states-v-hampton-roads-regional-jail-authority/


Judge(s)

Cowall, Laura Coon (District of Columbia)

Leonard, Lawrence Richard (Virginia)

Preston, Judy C. (District of Columbia)

Smiddie, Kyle (District of Columbia)

Smith, Rebecca Beach (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barr, William P. (District of Columbia)

Dreiband, Eric S. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Terwilliger, G. Zachary (District of Columbia)

Wuerker, Clare Patricia (Virginia)

Judge(s)

Cowall, Laura Coon (District of Columbia)

Leonard, Lawrence Richard (Virginia)

Preston, Judy C. (District of Columbia)

Smiddie, Kyle (District of Columbia)

Smith, Rebecca Beach (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barr, William P. (District of Columbia)

Dreiband, Eric S. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Terwilliger, G. Zachary (District of Columbia)

Wuerker, Clare Patricia (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Rosen, Jeff Wayne (Virginia)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Welch, James C. (Delaware)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:20-cv-00410

Docket [PACER]

United States of America v. Hampton Roads

Sept. 10, 2020

Sept. 10, 2020

Docket
1

2:20-cv-00410

Complaint

United States of America v. Hampton Roads

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

Complaint
2-1

2:20-cv-00410

Agreement

United States of America v. Hampton Roads

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

Settlement Agreement
5

2:20-cv-00410

Order Approving and Entering Consent Decree

United States of America v. Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority

Aug. 31, 2020

Aug. 31, 2020

Order/Opinion
8

2:20-cv-00410

Order Appointing Monitor

United States of America v. Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority

Sept. 10, 2020

Sept. 10, 2020

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17418108/united-states-v-hampton-roads-regional-jail-authority/

Last updated Sept. 1, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint, filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 08/05/2020)

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

RECAP
2

Joint MOTION for Entry of Consent Decree by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Proposed Order)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 08/05/2020)

1 Exhibit

View on RECAP

2 Proposed Order

View on PACER

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

PACER

Initial Case Assignment to District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith and Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard. (epri, )

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

PACER
3

Memorandum in Support re 2 Joint MOTION for Entry of Consent Decree filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 08/05/2020)

Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

PACER
4

NOTICE of Appearance by Jeff Wayne Rosen on behalf of Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority (Rosen, Jeff) (Entered: 08/11/2020)

Aug. 11, 2020

Aug. 11, 2020

PACER
5

ORDER: The joint motion ECF 2 is GRANTED. The Agreement is APPROVED and the Agreement's terms are hereby incorporated into this Order as if fully set forth herein. The Court retains complete jurisdiction of this matter to enforce this Order and the terms of the incorporated Agreement until the Defendants have fulfilled their obligations therein. Signed by District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith on 8/31/20. (afar) (Entered: 08/31/2020)

Aug. 31, 2020

Aug. 31, 2020

RECAP
6

Joint MOTION to Appoint a Monitor by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 09/09/2020)

Sept. 9, 2020

Sept. 9, 2020

PACER
7

Memorandum in Support re 6 Joint MOTION to Appoint a Monitor filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 09/09/2020)

Sept. 9, 2020

Sept. 9, 2020

PACER
8

ORDER APPOINTING MONITOR. James Conrad Welch is appointed the Monitor, pursuant to Paragraphs 129-30 of the Agreement. ECF 2-1. Signed by District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith on 9/10/2020. (tamarm, ) (Entered: 09/10/2020)

Sept. 10, 2020

Sept. 10, 2020

RECAP
9

Baseline Monitoring Report by Court Appointed Monitor, James C. Welch. (tamarm, ) (Entered: 11/30/2020)

Nov. 30, 2020

Nov. 30, 2020

PACER
11

Letter from the Court to James C. Welch, Monitor. (tamarm, ) (Entered: 12/04/2020)

Dec. 4, 2020

Dec. 4, 2020

PACER
12

Letter from the Court to James C. Welch, Monitor. (Attachments: # 1 The Virginian-Pilot article dated 4-28-2021; Attachment: # 2 Letter dated 4-22-2021 from Ryan C. McCord, Executive Director of the State Board of Local and Regional Jails)(tamarm, ) (Entered: 05/03/2021)

May 3, 2021

May 3, 2021

PACER
13

Letter to the Court from James C. Welch, Monitor. (tamarm, ) (Entered: 05/07/2021)

May 6, 2021

May 6, 2021

PACER
14

Letter from the Court to James C. Welch, Monitor. (afar) (Entered: 05/12/2021)

May 12, 2021

May 12, 2021

PACER
15

NOTICE by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA re 14 Letter and Compliance with the Court's Request (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 05/18/2021)

May 18, 2021

May 18, 2021

PACER
16

Letter to the Court from James C. Welch, Monitor. (Attachments: # 1 First Monitoring Report dated May 31, 2021 with Appendices A and B)(mrees, ) (Entered: 06/09/2021)

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

PACER
17

Letter from the Court to James C. Welch, Monitor. (mrees, ) (Entered: 06/09/2021)

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

PACER
18

Motion to appear Pro Hac Vice by Kyle Smiddie and Certification of Local Counsel Clare P. Wuerker and Memorandum in Support by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 06/17/2021)

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

PACER

Status Conference set for 7/23/2021 at 11:00 AM before District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith in Norfolk. (sche)

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

PACER

Notice of Correction re 18 Motion to appear Pro Hac Vice by Kyle Smiddie and Certification of Local Counsel Clare P. Wuerker and Memorandum in Support. The motion does not contain the signature of the applicant. Local counsel should file a corrected motion that includes the written signature of the applicant. (tlev, )

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

PACER
19

Amended Motion to appear Pro Hac Vice by Kyle Smiddie and Certification of Local Counsel Clare P. Wuerker by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Wuerker, Clare) (Entered: 06/22/2021)

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

PACER
20

ORDER granting 19 Motion for Pro hac vice for Kyle Edward Smiddie as to UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Signed by District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith on 6/23/21. (tlev, ) (Entered: 06/23/2021)

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

PACER
21

Letter with Summary to the Court from James C. Welch, Monitor. (Attachments: # 1 Summary of HRRJ accomplishments, # 2 Envelope)(tamarm, ) (Entered: 07/14/2021)

July 14, 2021

July 14, 2021

PACER
22

STATUS CONFERENCE held before District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith: Jody Stewart, OCR. Claire Wuerker and Kyle Smiddie present on behalf of plaintiff. Jeff Rosen present on behalf of defendant, along with representatives from Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority. James C. Welch, Monitor, present. Status Conference held on 7/23/2021. Comments of court, counsel and the Monitor heard re the Status Report. Court adjourned. (sche) (Entered: 07/23/2021)

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

PACER
23

TRANSCRIPT of proceedings held on 7-23-2021, before Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, Court Reporter/Transcriber Jody Stewart, Telephone number 757-222-7071. NOTICE RE REDACTION OF TRANSCRIPTS:The parties have thirty(30) calendar days to file with the Court a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction of this transcript. If no such Notice is filed, the transcript will be made remotely electronically available to the public without redaction after 90 calendar days. The policy is located on our website at www.vaed.uscourts.gov. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the court reporter/transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER Redaction Request due 10/21/2021. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 11/22/2021. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/20/2021.(stewart, jody) (Entered: 09/21/2021)

Sept. 21, 2021

Sept. 21, 2021

PACER
24

Letter to the Court from James C. Welch, Monitor. (Attachments: # 1 Second Monitoring Report dated November 30, 2021, # 2 Attachment 1 - Agreement, # 3 Envelope)(tamarm, ) (Entered: 12/01/2021)

1

View on RECAP

Dec. 1, 2021

Dec. 1, 2021

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Virginia

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 5, 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority (Portsmouth), Regional

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2020 - 2025

Content of Injunction:

Auditing

Hire

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reasonable Accommodation

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Training

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Administrative segregation

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Confinement/isolation

Failure to train

Improper treatment of mentally ill suspects

Reasonable Accommodations

Recreation / Exercise

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Youth / Adult separation

Discrimination-area:

Accommodation / Leave

Medical Exam / Inquiry

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Medical care, unspecified

Mental health care, general

Mental health care, unspecified

Suicide prevention

Type of Facility:

Government-run