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Case Name Montez v. Owens PC-CO-0014
Docket / Court 1:92-cv-00870 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
This federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, in 1992, by six disabled prisoners who alleged that Colorado's prisons did not comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In 1996, the case became ... read more >
This federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, in 1992, by six disabled prisoners who alleged that Colorado's prisons did not comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In 1996, the case became certified as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all disabled state prisoners.

In 2003, the state Department of Corrections agreed in a multimillion-dollar settlement known as the Remedial Plan to make changes by 2005. The court [Judge Edward Nottingham] approved this plan on August 27, 2003. The changes included making prisons handicapped-accessible, ending lower pay for so-called "handicapped" inmate jobs and ensuring that disabled inmates had access to sign language interpreters and Braille or large-print documents.

The Remedial Plan also included a mechanism for individual inmates to file claims seeking damages, or some other remedy available in court, that would be sent to a team of two Special Masters to adjudicate and determine damages based on an agreed upon class system. In 2004, the Special Masters requested that the court authorize at least two additional masters to accommodate the ever-increasing case load. Although both parties to the case recognized the need to have additional Special Masters, neither party could agree on who should be able to become Special Master. This disagreement stymied future progress in the case. Between 2004 and 2005 alone, over 1300 individuals submitted claims to the Special Masters.

The state did not meet the requirements of other elements of the Remedial Plan by 2005, so the deadline was extended to July 2007. By 2008, the Colorado prison system missed two court-ordered deadlines to improve facilities and services for disabled inmates, some of whom have gone without glasses, diabetes medication, wheelchairs or hearing aids for months or even years, according to court records.

To cause further disarray, in 2008, Judge Edward Nottingham resigned from his commission as United States District Judge for the district of Colorado. Judge Christine Arguello replaced Judge Edward Nottingham. Since 2008 the settlement has faced a myriad of conflicts between the parties of the case, resignations and replacements of special masters for the case settlement as individual claims continue to be sorted out.

One of the largest areas of dispute that has formed between the two parties of the case regards whether an inmate is able to seek appellate review of a decision made by a Special Master. This dispute arose after a claimant filed an individual claim for damages because, as a diabetic, his correctional facility forced him to wear a different color name tag than other inmates. The Special Masters denied this claim, stating that they did not have jurisdiction to address this issue. The claimant sought the ability to appeal this decision despite the fact that the consent decree specifically says that all decisions made by the Special Masters are final. This situation created a whirlwind of activity regarding the enforcement of the consent decree and eventually wound up in front of the Tenth Circuit. 307 Fed.Appx. 160 (2009).

After years of litigation, on May 10, 2011, the Tenth Circuit held that even though the consent decree provided that the lower court's review would be final, an appeal could be made to the Tenth Circuit since the Court's jurisdiction is invoked by statute. Regardless, the Court affirmed the lower courts' decision to dismiss the officials' motion, and the claimant's motion for damages. 640 F.3d 1126 (2011).

In January 2015, the Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari. Between 2015 and 2018, several interested parties filed appeals in the Tenth Circuit. One of these appeals was dismissed on June 7, 2019 after the appellant repeatedly failed to submit a timely brief. On January 22, 2018, another resulted in the award of $50 to one class member along with the dismissal of the remainder of his claims. As of April 11, 2020, there are no other pending appeals. The settlement for this case is ongoing in the district court.

Megan Richardson - 06/09/2014
Hope Brinn - 11/03/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Monitor/Master
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Hearing impairment
Mobility impairment
Visual impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Untreated pain
Vision care
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.
Defendant(s) Colorado Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description The case was brought forth by inmates, former inmates and representatives of inmates who filed complaints against the Colorado Department of Corrections.
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 Unknown
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - n/a
Filed 02/13/1996
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)
Court Docket(s)
D. Colo.
10/27/2004
1:96-cv-00343-EWN
PC-CO-0014-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
07/22/2013
1:92-00870-EWN-OES
PC-CO-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
not recorded
08/27/2003
Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0015.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
04/30/2004
Order and Memorandum of Decision
PC-CO-0014-0043.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
06/13/2005
Final Order of Special Master
PC-CO-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
06/30/2005
Second Report and Recommendation of the Special Masters to the United States District Judge Edward W. Nottingham and Senior United States District Judge John L. Kane
PC-CO-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
08/16/2005
Plaintiff Class Response and Partial Objection to Second Report and Recommendation of Special Masters
PC-CO-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
08/16/2005
Plaintiff Class Notice to the Hon. John L. Kane of Defendants' Non-compliance of Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0005.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
08/26/2005
Defendants' Reponse to Plaintiff Class Notice to the Hon. John L. Kane of Defendants' Non-Compliance of Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0006.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
12/21/2005
Petition to Expand the Scope and Parameters of the Montez Remedical Plan and to Include ADA Standards for Individuals with Disabilities
PC-CO-0014-0007.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
12/29/2005
Recommended Award of Attorney Fees and Costs
PC-CO-0014-0008.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
02/07/2006
Third Report and Recommendation of the Special Masters to United States District Judge Edward W. Nottingham and Senior United States District Judge John L. Kane
PC-CO-0014-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: District Court
D. Colo.
02/14/2006
Fourth Report and Recommendation of the Special Masters to the United States District Judge Edward W. Nottingham and Senior United States District Judge John L. Kane
PC-CO-0014-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: District Court
D. Colo.
07/10/2006
Stipulation and Order Regarding Status of Compliance by Doc with Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: District Court
D. Colo.
07/25/2006
Motion Stipulation and Order Regarding Structural Compliance Montez Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: District Court
D. Colo.
08/29/2006
Amended Stipulation and Order Regarding Status of Compliance by Doc with Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0013.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
09/06/2006
Plaintiff Class Motion for Clarification on Standards Used to Determine Disability Status
PC-CO-0014-0014.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
09/11/2006
Final Order of Special Master
PC-CO-0014-0017.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
09/14/2006
Order
PC-CO-0014-0016.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
07/14/2007
Order of Dismissal of Special Master [ECF# 2756]
PC-CO-0014-0023.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
09/14/2007
Courtroom Minutes
PC-CO-0014-0018.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
09/18/2007
Order
PC-CO-0014-0019.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
03/24/2008
Press Release
PC-CO-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
04/04/2008
Stipulation Regarding Status of Compliance by the Colorado Department of Corrections with the Montez Remedial Plan
PC-CO-0014-0020.pdf | Detail
D. Colo.
05/07/2008
Order [ECF# 3384] (2008 WL 1970004)
PC-CO-0014-0021.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
06/13/2008
Order Granting Special Masters' Twenty-Fifth Application For Payment of Fees and Costs [ECF# 3458]
PC-CO-0014-0022.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
09/30/2008
Order [ECF# 3641]
PC-CO-0014-0024.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
09/30/2008
Order Granting Special Masters' Twenty-Seventh Application for Payment of Fees and Costs [ECF# 3642]
PC-CO-0014-0025.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
11/14/2008
Letter [ECF# 3708]
PC-CO-0014-0034.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
12/16/2008
Report and Recommendation of Special Masters [ECF# 3741] (2008 WL 7690793)
PC-CO-0014-0035.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
01/09/2009
Order and Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 3766] (307 Fed.Appx. 160)
PC-CO-0014-0041.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
03/05/2009
Order of Dismissal of Special Master [ECF# 3840]
PC-CO-0014-0026.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
09/29/2009
Order Formalizing 9/1/09 Bench Ruling Re Tenth Circuit Appeals from Special Masters Orders [ECF# 4148]
PC-CO-0014-0027.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
01/14/2010
Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence Relating to Medical Treatment [ECF# 4248]
PC-CO-0014-0036.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
03/23/2010
Order re Report and Recommendation of Special Master and Related Filings [ECF# 4381] (2010 WL 1258077)
PC-CO-0014-0028.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
04/27/2010
Motion to Notify the Court of CDOC's Continued Non-Compliance of the Montez Remedial Plan [ECF# 4504]
PC-CO-0014-0037.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
10/22/2010
Report and Recommendation of Special Master [ECF# 4893]
PC-CO-0014-0038.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
01/19/2011
Order re Report and Recommendation of Special Master [ECF# 4960]
PC-CO-0014-0029.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
05/10/2011
Order and Judgment (640 F.3d 1126)
PC-CO-0014-0042.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
D. Colo.
07/01/2011
Report and Recommendation of Special Master [ECF# 5100]
PC-CO-0014-0039.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
08/05/2011
Report and Recommendation of Special Master [ECF# 5132] (2011 WL 11047632)
PC-CO-0014-0040.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
10/04/2011
Order [ECF# 5180]
PC-CO-0014-0030.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
09/11/2012
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law re Phase I of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 5314]
PC-CO-0014-0031.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
01/23/2013
Order Granting Special Master's Forty Sixth Application for Payment of Fees and Costs [ECF# 5344]
PC-CO-0014-0032.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Colo.
07/03/2013
Order Adopting July 1, 2011 Report and Recommendation of the Special Master [ECF# 5388] (2013 WL 3388734)
PC-CO-0014-0033.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Arguello, Christine M. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0032 | PC-CO-0014-0033 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Ebel, David M. (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0041
Gorsuch, Neil M. (Tenth Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0041
Henry, Robert Harlan (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0041
Kane, John L. Jr. (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0001 | PC-CO-0014-0013 | PC-CO-0014-0016 | PC-CO-0014-0019 | PC-CO-0014-0020 | PC-CO-0014-0021 | PC-CO-0014-0022 | PC-CO-0014-0024 | PC-CO-0014-0025 | PC-CO-0014-0027 | PC-CO-0014-0028 | PC-CO-0014-0029 | PC-CO-0014-0030 | PC-CO-0014-0031
Klane, John L Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0011
McKay, Monroe G. (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0042
Nottingham, Edward Willis Jr. (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0008 | PC-CO-0014-0018 | PC-CO-0014-0043 | PC-CO-0014-9000 | PC-CO-0014-9001
Monitors/Masters Barr, Robbie (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0008
Borchers, Richard M. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0002 | PC-CO-0014-0003 | PC-CO-0014-0004 | PC-CO-0014-0009 | PC-CO-0014-0010 | PC-CO-0014-0023 | PC-CO-0014-0026 | PC-CO-0014-0038 | PC-CO-0014-0039 | PC-CO-0014-0040 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Davidson, Richard C. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0009 | PC-CO-0014-0010 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Pringle, Bruce D (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0002 | PC-CO-0014-0009 | PC-CO-0014-0010 | PC-CO-0014-0017 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bellac, Patricia S. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Bulgier, Jimmy R. (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Carlson, John T. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000 | PC-CO-0014-9001
Carroll, Terrence David (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Greisen, Paula Dee (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0001 | PC-CO-0014-0036 | PC-CO-0014-0037 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Greison, Paula (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0004 | PC-CO-0014-0005 | PC-CO-0014-0008 | PC-CO-0014-0011 | PC-CO-0014-0013 | PC-CO-0014-0014 | PC-CO-0014-0015 | PC-CO-0014-0020 | PC-CO-0014-9001
Lane, David A. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Marks, Lara Elizabeth (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0036 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Miller, David H. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0004 | PC-CO-0014-0005 | PC-CO-0014-9000 | PC-CO-0014-9001
Myhre, Blair David (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0036 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Ramey, Edward T. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0036 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Riddle, Jennifer Wardner (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0036 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Weiser, Jennifer R. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Arnold, Willow Ivana (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0035 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Atkinson, John Aaron (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Belsches, Grace A. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9001
Berman, Jennifer Allison (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Conroy, Deann Marie (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Dance, Jess Alexander (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Dash, Diane Marie (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Fredericks, Jacquelynn Nicole Rich (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Higgins, William J. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Huss, Jennifer Susan (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Huss, Robert Charles (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Ibrisagic, Berina (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
McCann, Elizabeth H. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0013 | PC-CO-0014-0015 | PC-CO-0014-0020 | PC-CO-0014-9000
Meyer, Brooke H. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Miller, Steven M. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Quinn, James Xavier (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0006 | PC-CO-0014-0008 | PC-CO-0014-9000 | PC-CO-0014-9001
Randolph, Celia Florry (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Suthers, John W. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0006 | PC-CO-0014-0035
Veiga, Jennifer L. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Westfall, Richard A. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Wiens, Adam B. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Wilkonson, Scott Arthur (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Other Lawyers Fraser, Joseph Jerome III (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Garcia, Castelar M. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Hall, Eric V (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Lyons, Thomas J (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
McCann, Beth (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-0004 | PC-CO-0014-0006 | PC-CO-0014-0008 | PC-CO-0014-0011
Moyer, H. Earl (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000
Tondre, Brice A. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0014-9000

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