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Case Name Cole v. County of Santa Clara JC-CA-0132
Docket / Court 5:16-cv-06594-LHK ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection California Jail Population Caps
California's Prisoners' Rights Bar article
Attorney Organization Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On November 14, 2016, five prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail system with mobility disabilities filed this class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs sued the County of Santa Clara under the American with Disabilities Act, the ... read more >
On November 14, 2016, five prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail system with mobility disabilities filed this class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs sued the County of Santa Clara under the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and state law. The plaintiffs, represented by Disability Rights Advocates and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, sought declaratory relief that the County had violated their rights and injunctive relief prohibiting further violations. The plaintiffs claimed that the Santa Clara County Jail system did not provide adequate facilities for people with mobility disabilities. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that they were kept in restrictive medical units which prevented them from using jail facilities and common areas, were denied access to educational, religious, and rehabilitative programming due to their disabilities, were often denied access to devices intended to increase their mobility (including wheelchairs and canes), and did not have access to a functional grievance system to report any of these circumstances.

On April 13, 2017, the case was referred to mediation. From August 17, 2017 to May 31, 2018, Magistrate Judge Nathaniel M. Cousins presided over nine settlement conferences.

The parties' joint motion for class certification was approved by Judge Lucy H. Koh on February 6, 2018. The class of plaintiffs was defined as “[a]ll individuals with mobility disabilities who are now, or will be in the future, incarcerated in the Santa Clara County Jails, which consist of three facilities: (1) the Santa Clara County Main Jail Complex (“Main Jail”), consisting of Main Jail North and Main Jail South, in San Jose, California; (2) facilities for male inmates at the Elmwood Correctional Complex in Milpitas, California (“Elmwood”); and (3) the Elmwood Complex Women’s Facility in Milpitas, California.”

Following class certification, the parties jointly moved for a preliminary class settlement on November 13, 2018, which was approved by Judge Koh. The parties jointly moved for approval of a final settlement on January 14, 2019, and the court granted approval on March 21, 2019. The settlement consisted of a consent decree that required Santa Clara County to physically and administratively improve jail system so that the jails would be accessible to inmates with mobility disabilities. The consent decree required defendants to establish an electronic ADA grievance system, as well as a full-time ADA Coordinator to oversee all future issues related to inmates with mobility disabilities. Moreover, the decree provided for a fixed award of $3.2 million for plaintiff attorneys' fees.

The consent decree further directed Santa Clara County to incorporate accessibility features into a new jail, then slated for completion in 2023. The decree lasts until one year after the new jail goes into use.

In October 2020, amid public protests against police brutality, Santa Clara County tabled its plans for the new jail. County officials alternatively proposed creation of a mental health facility. However, a January 2021 report about inhumane prison conditions reportedly led county officials to resume plans for the new jail. See https://sanjosespotlight.com/santa-clara-county-wobbles-on-replacing-new-jail-with-mental-health-center.

As of November 2021, there has been no further activity on the docket. Because the new jail is presumably still under construction, this case is ongoing.

Brian Remlinger - 04/01/2019
Justin Hill - 10/02/2019
Achutha Raman - 11/07/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Disability
Mental impairment
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Administrative segregation
Barrier Removal
Bathing and hygiene
Bathrooms
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Grievance Procedures
Law library access
Placement in detention facilities
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Sanitation / living conditions
Transportation
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Bed care (including sores)
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, unspecified
Untreated pain
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) County of Santa Clara
County of Santa Clara Department of Correction
County of Santa Clara Office of the Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Initially, five jail inmates with disabilities that restrict their mobility brought the suit. Through successful class action certification, the plaintiffs expanded to all individuals with mobility disabilities who are now, or will be in the future, incarcerated in the Santa Clara County Jails.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 11/14/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing JC-CA-0123 : Chavez v. County of Santa Clara (N.D. Cal.)
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)
N.D. Cal.
10/08/2021
5:16−cv−06594−LHK
JC-CA-0132-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Cal.
11/14/2016
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory [ECF# 1]
JC-CA-0132-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
02/06/2018
Order Granting Joint Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 38]
JC-CA-0132-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
not recorded
11/13/2018
Final Consent Decree
JC-CA-0132-0004.pdf | Detail
N.D. Cal.
12/07/2018
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement and Notice to the Class [ECF# 73]
JC-CA-0132-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
01/14/2019
CLASS ACTION [PROPOSED] CONSENT DECREE [ECF# 72]
JC-CA-0132-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Cal.
03/21/2019
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Settlement and Motion for Attorneys' Fees [ECF# 86]
JC-CA-0132-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cousins, Nathanael M. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0001 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Koh, Lucy Haeran (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0001 | JC-CA-0132-0005 | JC-CA-0132-0006 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bichell, Rosa L. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-9000
Ells, Lisa Adrienne (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0003 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Grunfeld, Gay Crosthwait (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Iorio, Michelle B (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Janssen, Kara J. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Riess, Melissa (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-9000
Shinn-Krantz, Marc J (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Smith, Mary-Lee Kimber (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0003 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fedman, Emily L (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Harris, Aryn (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Press, Douglas M (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-9000
Williams, James Robyzad (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0132-0002 | JC-CA-0132-0004

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