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Case Name Fenty v. Penzone JC-AZ-0016
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-01192-SPL ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This class action lawsuit was filed on June 16, 2020 by detainees in the Maricopa County Jail system in Arizona, who sought extra protections from COVID-19 and, in some cases, release. The Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on August 14, 2020.
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COVID-19 Summary: This class action lawsuit was filed on June 16, 2020 by detainees in the Maricopa County Jail system in Arizona, who sought extra protections from COVID-19 and, in some cases, release. The Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on August 14, 2020.
This is a lawsuit challenging the Maricopa County Sheriff's response to COVID-19 in its jails and requesting the release of detainees and prisoners. On June 16, 2020, nine named plaintiffs and the immigrants' rights non-profit Puente Human Rights Movement filed this class action law suit and habeas petition in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued Maricopa County and its Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12131), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794) and petitioned the court for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Represented by the national and Arizona ACLUs, as well as several law firms working pro bono, the plaintiffs sought to certify several classes of detainees and prisoners, the release of certain individuals at high risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19, and injunctions governing the Sheriff's response to COVID-19 in Maricopa County's jails, as well as attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs claimed that their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, were violated by the Sheriff's response to COVID-19.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants placed them in danger of contracting COVID-19 by continuing to book new detainees in the jail without quarantining them from the existing population, as well as a host of other unsafe practices, including a lack of masks and cleaning supplies, little testing for individuals held in the jail or jail staff, and crowded conditions that prevented social distancing. According to the complaint, the pretrial detainees' Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the conditions of their confinement, which amounted to deliberate indifference and unconstitutional punishment prior to conviction. The convicted prisoners made a similar Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. Additionally, the subclasses of prisoners with disabilities claimed that their rights under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act to equal access to jail programming were violated by the defendants' COVID-19 response. Finally, the plaintiffs requested that the court release medically vulnerable pretrial detainees.

The case was assigned to United States District Judge Steven P. Logan. On June 29, 2020, the plaintiffs filed an ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order against the defendants, ordering them to improve COVID-19 safety protocols and begin releasing medically vulnerable pretrial detainees. Judge Logan denied the plaintiffs' ex parte request, but set a briefing schedule to determine whether to grant a similar preliminary injunction on July 2, 2020. The defendants then moved to dismiss the case on July 20, 2020.

Judge Logan resolved both of these motions in an August 14, 2020 opinion. He denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims. He also granted the defendants' motion to dismiss some of the plaintiffs' municipal liability claims against the Sheriff, but not the County.

Shortly after the filing of the lawsuit, back on June 29, 2020, the plaintiffs had moved for class certification. Judge Logan granted that motion in a November 13, 2020 opinion and certified two classes, one of detainees incarcerated pending trial and one of convicted prisoners, and four subclasses (two within each class) of medically vulnerable individuals and individuals with disabilities.

After class certification was granted, the parties began the discovery process. The case is ongoing.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 03/17/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
COVID-19
Mitigation Requested
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Over/Unlawful Detention
Rehabilitation
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
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.
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Maricopa County
Sheriff
Plaintiff Description All current and future persons held in pretrial detention at the five jails operated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, known as the 4th Avenue, Saguaro, Estrella, Lower Buckeye, and Towers jails (together, the “Maricopa County jails”); all current and future persons held by Defendants in postconviction detention at the Maricopa County jails; and subclasses within both classes.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/16/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Court Docket(s)
D. Ariz.
03/05/2021
2:20-cv-01192-SPL-JZB
JC-AZ-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Ariz.
06/16/2020
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief Immediate Relief Sought [ECF# 1]
JC-AZ-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
06/29/2020
Plaintiff-Petitioners' Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 10]
JC-AZ-0016-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
06/29/2020
Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 11]
JC-AZ-0016-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
07/02/2020
Order [ECF# 15]
JC-AZ-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
08/04/2020
Reply in Support of Plaintiff-Petitioners' Ex Parte Application for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 44]
JC-AZ-0016-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
08/14/2020
Order [ECF# 52]
JC-AZ-0016-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
09/08/2020
Reply in Support of Plaintiff-Petitioners' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 62]
JC-AZ-0016-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
11/13/2020
Order [ECF# 67]
JC-AZ-0016-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Boyle, John Z Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Logan, Steven Paul (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0002 | JC-AZ-0016-0003 | JC-AZ-0016-0004 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Akselrod, Olga (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Andriola, Patrick (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Arellano, Casey (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Balaban, Eric G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Balaban, Eric (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001
Brennan-Krohn, Zoe (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Handeyside, Hugh (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Keenan, Jared G (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Kendrick, Corene T (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Lahlou, Shari Ross (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Lopez, Victoria (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Ly, Timothy (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Ozurovich, Allison (California) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Raphel, Brian (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Sadun, Benjamin M (California) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Sanders, Ethan J (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Spera, Clara Simone (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Trivedi, Somil Bharat (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Watson, Leah (New York) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Wulkan, Lawrence J. (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-0001 | JC-AZ-0016-0005 | JC-AZ-0016-0006 | JC-AZ-0016-0007 | JC-AZ-0016-0008 | JC-AZ-0016-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Acedo, Nicholas Daniel (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Hesman, Ashlee (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Love, Rachel (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Nguyen, Kevin L (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona) show/hide docs
JC-AZ-0016-9000

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