University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Barnett v. Tony JC-FL-0026
Docket / Court 0:20-cv-61113-WPD ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: Thirteen individuals and a local NGO, Disability Rights Florida, alleged in this class action lawsuit that the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) provided inadequate safety measures to protect its prisoners from the COVID-19 virus. After an abbreviated discovery process, BSO entered ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: Thirteen individuals and a local NGO, Disability Rights Florida, alleged in this class action lawsuit that the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) provided inadequate safety measures to protect its prisoners from the COVID-19 virus. After an abbreviated discovery process, BSO entered into a class settlement with the plaintiffs, which was subsequently approved by the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.
This is a class action lawsuit about the sufficiency of COVID-19 safety protocols at Broward County Jails, administered by the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO). On June 5, 2020, thirteen named plaintiffs and a local NGO, Disability Rights Florida, represented by the ACLU, filed the case seeking a writ of habeas corpus and injunctive and declaratory relief. Plaintiffs alleged that the BSO knowingly failed to adopt and implement adequate policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These alleged failures included hazardous intake processes, insufficient social distancing, insufficient testing, and a lack of PPE and cleaning supplies for prisoners. In addition to claims that these alleged failures constituted violations of the 8th Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment as well as the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause, plaintiffs claimed that BSO was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, as these policies were potentially especially harmful to the medically vulnerable and to those with disabilities. The case was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, sitting in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

On June 25, 2020, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order seeking release of medically vulnerable and disabled individuals, as well as implementation of COVID-19 education programs, stricter social distancing protocols, regular testing, and the provision of PPE to prisoners and staff. BSO did not respond, and the case was instead stayed until December 15 when both parties motioned for a preliminary approval of class settlement and class certification.

The settlement agreement granted plaintiffs most of what they had sought, with the notable exception of release for medically vulnerable and disabled incarcerated persons. Notwithstanding that exception, the settlement ordered BSO to comply with CDC recommendations on matters such as social distancing, PPE and sanitization supplies, and the availability and prominence of health information.

Between December 15, 2021 and May 13, 2021, when the settlement was ultimately approved, the court received twenty-four written objections from class members opposing the settlement. However, the bulk of these letters addressed ongoing safety violations in spite of the settlement, which was already in effect, as opposed to opposing the settlement itself. The court approved the settlement, pointing out that plaintiffs may conduct reasonable monitoring of the jail's compliance, including inspections, review of relevant documents, and interviewing staff and class members. The court retained jurisdiction for the length of this order, which will be 12-15 months, depending on when Emergency Orders are lifted in Broward County and the state of Florida.

Sean Drohan - 06/06/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
COVID-19
CDC Guidance ordered implemented
Contact tracing ordered
COVID reporting ordered
COVID testing ordered/modified
COVID vaccination ordered
Independent monitor/inspector imposed/assisted
Inspection ordered/regulated
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Requested
Release-process created/modified
Sanitizer/Handsoap ordered made available/used
Social distancing ordered
Transfer-ordered or process created/modified
Wellness/temperature checks ordered
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
HIV/AIDS
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Broward Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description Persons confined or who will be confined in Broward County (Florida) jails.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2021 - 2022
Filed 06/05/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Fla.
06/02/2021
0:20-cv-61113
JC-FL-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Fla.
06/05/2020
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
JC-FL-0026-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
12/15/2020
Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement, Preliminary Certification of Settlement Class, and Approval of Class Notice and Incorporated Memorandum of Law [ECF# 49, 42-2 and 49-3]
JC-FL-0026-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
12/15/2020
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 49-1]
JC-FL-0026-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Fla.
05/13/2021
Order Certifying Settlement Class and Approving Class Settlement [ECF# 112]
JC-FL-0026-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dimitrouleas, William P. (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0004 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Snow, Lurana S. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azis, Jacqueline Nicole (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Balaban, Eric G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-0003 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Congdon, James H (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Filaroski, Curtis (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Han, Suhana S. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Olsen, Elizabeth N (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-9000
Rosenbloom, Nancy (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-9000
Samant, Anjana (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Stevenson, Benjamin James (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-0003 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Strobach, Kathryn (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002
Stull, Brian (North Carolina) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001
Tilley, Daniel Boaz (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Toprani, Akash M (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Watt, Steven M. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0001 | JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lynch, Terrence O'Byrne (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0003
Piper, Michael Ross (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-0002 | JC-FL-0026-9000
Stearns, Christopher J Jr (Florida) show/hide docs
JC-FL-0026-9000

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