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Case Name Lopez v. Riveland PC-WA-0023
Docket / Court 2:93-cv-01030 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
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 ... read more >
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.

Samuel Poortenga - 11/20/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Language discrimination
Language access/needs
Law library access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Division of Prisons
Washington State Reformatory
Plaintiff Description Spanish speaking prisoners in the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe who were unable to speak, read, write, or understand English
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Denied
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 1995 - 1997
Filed 07/21/1993
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
W.D. Wash.
PC-WA-0023-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Wash.
Class Action Civil Rights Complaint with Jury Demand
PC-WA-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
PC-WA-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
show all people docs
Judges Dwyer, William Lee (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0002 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Wilson, David E. (W.D. Wash.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0002 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carranza, Jose (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Espinoza, Miguel (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Gomez, Arturo Hernandez (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Jimenez, Alfonso (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Lopez, Salvador (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Midgley, John (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0002 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Mondragon, Guillermo (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Morales, Francisco (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Sanchez, Cortez (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0001 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abolins, Talis M. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0023-0002 | PC-WA-0023-9000
Gregoire, Christine O. (Washington) show/hide docs
Riveland, Chase (Washington) show/hide docs

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