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Graves v. Penzone

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 19, 2019

Fred Graves, Isaac Popoca, on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of all pretrial detainees in the Maricopa County Jails, Plaintiffs,
v.
Paul Penzone, Sheriff of Maricopa County; Bill Gates, Steve Gallardo, Jack Sellers, Steve Chucri, and Clint L. Hickman, Maricopa County Supervisors, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Neil V. Wake Senior United States District Judge

         On May 20, 2019, the Court ordered Defendants to “demonstrate that before a seriously mentally ill pretrial detainee is placed in disciplinary isolation, CHS mental health staff are consulted and their recommendations addressing the potential effects of isolation the pretrial detainee’s mental health are received and considered.” (Doc. 2500 at 3.) The Order stated, “Defendants are not required to prove compliance with each term of their adopted policies and procedures, but must produce objective proof that mental health staff are consulted and such consultation reaches disciplinary decision-makers, at least as a general matter, before disciplinary isolation is imposed.” (Id. at 2.) Before the Court are Defendants’ report of compliance with the May 20, 2019 Order, Plaintiffs’ response, and Defendants’ reply. (Docs. 2519, 2520, 2523.)[1]

         Also before the Court are Plaintiffs’ Motion to Modify the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5) and for Further Relief (Doc. 2521) and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Schedule of Presentation of Evidence of Current Conditions (Doc. 2522).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pretrial detainees held in the Maricopa County Jails brought this class action in 1977 against the Maricopa County Sheriff and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seeking injunctive relief for alleged violations of their civil rights. In 1981, the parties entered into a consent decree that addressed and regulated aspects of the County jail operations as they applied to pretrial detainees. In 1995, upon stipulation of the parties, the 1981 consent decree was superseded by the Amended Judgment. The stipulated Amended Judgment expressly did not represent a judicial determination of any constitutionally mandated standards applicable to the Maricopa County Jails.

         In November 2003, Defendants renewed a prior motion to terminate the Amended Judgment, an evidentiary hearing was initiated, and the parties engaged in further discovery, but the motion was not decided. On April 3, 2008, the case was assigned to the undersigned judge. On April 25, 2008, Defendants’ motion to terminate the Amended Judgment was set for evidentiary hearing commencing August 12, 2008. In August and September 2008, a thirteen-day evidentiary hearing was held to decide whether prospective relief in the Amended Judgment should be continued, modified, or terminated. On October 22, 2008, the Court made detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered the Second Amended Judgment. Certain provisions of the Amended Judgment were found to remain necessary to correct a current and ongoing violation of a federal right, to extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right, to be narrowly drawn, and to be the least intrusive means to correct the violation. Other provisions were modified or vacated based on the evidence presented. The provisions remaining in effect, as originally written or as modified, were restated in the Second Amended Judgment.

         In addition, on October 22, 2008, the Court ordered the parties to confer immediately regarding prompt compliance and to submit status reports. A status conference was held on December 5, 2008. On January 9, 2009, a hearing was held regarding Defendants’ progress toward compliance with the nonmedical portions of the Second Amended Judgment. On January 28, 2009, upon stipulation of the parties, the Court appointed a medical expert and a mental health expert to serve as independent evaluators of Defendants’ compliance with the medical and mental health provisions of the Second Amended Judgment. In June 2009, the Court began receiving quarterly reports from the experts. By April 2010, the Court concluded that “significant areas of failure to comply with the Second Amended Judgment’s medical and mental health requirements remain” and ordered the parties to jointly “develop a proposed procedure for achieving and demonstrating Defendants’ complete compliance with the Second Amended Judgment.” (Doc. 1880 at 3–4.) In the April 7, 2010 Order, the Court stated: “The Court’s purpose is to set a procedure by which full compliance with the Second Amended Judgment is either confirmed or specific implementing remedies are ordered and complied with by the end of this calendar year.” (Id. at 4.)

         In January 2011, the parties reported Defendants’ disagreement with two of the independent evaluators’ recommendations, but in June 2011 the parties jointly reported that an evidentiary hearing regarding medical and mental health remedies was not necessary. On June 7, 2011, Defendants filed a motion to terminate the nonmedical provisions of the Second Amended Judgment. On October 12, 2011, the parties stipulated that certain nonmedical provisions should be terminated and others should remain in effect without an evidentiary hearing. The stipulation stated that Defendants would renew the motion to terminate the remaining nonmedical provisions after April 1, 2012, and that Plaintiffs would not contest the renewed motion if Defendants successfully accomplished certain goals for the period November 1, 2011, through March 1, 2012.

         On April 24, 2012, Defendants moved to terminate the remaining nonmedical provisions of the Second Amended Judgment, and Plaintiffs did not oppose the motion. On May 24, 2012, Defendants’ motion was granted, and those provisions of the Second Amended Judgment that remained in effect were restated in the Third Amended Judgment.

         In October 2012, the independent evaluators visited the jails, conducted interviews, and reviewed medical records. In January 2013, the evaluators reported that Defendants had made significant progress toward compliance with the Third Amended Judgment, and the evaluators provided specific recommendations for achieving substantial compliance. In June 2013, Defendants filed a status report describing their efforts to address the evaluators’ concerns and identified certain recommendations with which they disagreed. In response, Plaintiffs identified recommendations for which Defendants had not shown evidence of compliance and also challenged the accuracy of some of Defendants’ assertions about their compliance with the evaluators’ recommendations.

         On August 9, 2013, Defendants moved to terminate the Third Amended Judgment. The Court ordered that for evidence to be relevant to the motion, it must tend to show whether any current and ongoing constitutional violation existed on August 9, 2013. In addition to filing briefs and statements of facts with supporting exhibits, the parties presented evidence and argument for six days in February and March 2014.

         On September 30, 2014, the Court made detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding whether and to what extent prospective relief in the Third Amended Judgment should be terminated. In many instances, Defendants demonstrated they had recently adopted or revised policies and procedures designed to correct deficiencies identified by the independent evaluators and/or Plaintiffs, but they were unable to produce evidence that the revised policies and procedures had been fully and consistently implemented or that the identified systemic deficiencies had been corrected. Because Defendants did not prove compliance with any of the three substantive paragraphs of the Third Amended Judgment, i.e., sufficient screening at intake, ready access to care for serious medical and mental health needs, and continuity of prescription medications, the Court found that the prospective relief ordered in those three paragraphs remained necessary to correct current and ongoing constitutional violations.

         Also on September 30, 2014, after six years of reviewing evidence, expert opinion, and legal argument regarding conditions in the Maricopa County Jails, and after allowing both parties opportunity to propose remedies to correct constitutional deficiencies, the Court ordered remedies that did not exactly track constitutional standards but were practical, concrete measures necessary to correct constitutional violations. Defendants were ordered to, within 60 days, adopt new policies or amend existing policies regarding 31 specific requirements for providing medical and mental health care, implement the policies within 150 days, collect and summarize compliance data for a period of 180 days after implementation of the policies, and report documentation showing completion of each stage. The Court stated, “If Defendants comply with this Order and its deadlines, within one year they will demonstrate that prospective relief no longer remains necessary to correct any current and ongoing violation of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and Court-ordered relief may be terminated before the [Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”)] permits another motion to terminate.” (Doc. 2283 at 59-60.)

         Therefore, Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment[2]continued the prospective relief in the Third Amended Judgment, and Paragraph 5 of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment defined specifically how Defendants would prove their compliance with Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4. Paragraph 5(a) identified the 31 specific requirements for providing medical and mental health care that were expected to become institutionalized through appropriate policies, staffing, training, and monitoring.

         In January 2015, the Court clarified that Plaintiffs’ counsel were permitted to tour the jail facilities, speak with pretrial detainees and staff, review records on-site, and review copies of records off-site upon reasonable request. It further stated that the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment “requires Defendants to meet a series of deadlines and anticipates that Plaintiffs will promptly bring to the Court’s attention any perceived lack of compliance with each requirement.” (Doc. 2309.)

         In September 2015, Defendants reported the data they had collected and summarized pursuant to the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment. On October 15, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ request that they be permitted to file their response to Defendants’ compliance reports by January 15, 2016. The Court further ordered that Plaintiffs’ response address only whether Defendants had demonstrated compliance with Paragraph 5 of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment related to each of the 31 subparagraphs of Paragraph 5(a). Plaintiffs moved for reconsideration of that order, requesting opportunity for Plaintiffs and their experts to review individual medical records off-site and to conduct a site visit at the jail to review medical records. The Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration to the extent that Plaintiffs’ counsel and their medical experts were permitted to review individual medical records on-site within certain limitations, Defendants were permitted to produce paper copies of some of the requested records, and Plaintiffs’ time to respond to Defendants’ compliance reports was extended to February 26, 2016. The Court further ordered that Plaintiffs’ records review would focus on the accuracy of Defendants’ compliance reports and the significance of any lack of compliance. The Court explained:

To clarify, at this stage of the litigation, the question is not whether the remedies ordered have in fact resolved the previously found systemic deficiencies, but whether the remedies have been implemented consistently enough. What is “enough” is context-specific. The Court has already determined that adequate compliance with the specific standards previously stated will meet minimum constitutional standards. The Court will not go behind those determinations in the current proceedings, and Plaintiffs will not be granted discovery to attempt to argue and prove some other measure of constitutional requirements. This case has always been about systemic failures amounting to constitutional violations. Proof of some individual failures does not establish systemic constitutional failures, and discovery regarding mere individual failures is not warranted.
In its September 30, 2014 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Court explained that because Defendants had not shown they had resolved certain systemic deficiencies after six years, it was necessary for the Court to craft remedies to correct constitutional violations. (Doc. 2283 at 6.) After giving Plaintiffs and Defendants opportunity to propose and debate specific remedies, the Court ordered “remedies that do not exactly track constitutional standards but that are practical measures necessary to correct constitutional violations.” (Id. at 59.) Each remedy was intentionally written to provide a clear standard by which compliance could be decided even though the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments do not demand a particular action. Therefore, the Court will evaluate Defendants’ compliance with the 31 subparagraphs of Paragraph 5(a) of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment exactly as they are written.
However, Plaintiffs are not required to accept as true Defendants’ assertions about their compliance. They are entitled to examine how data were collected, whether the reported data were relevant to the ordered remedy, and whether the data show sufficient compliance.

(Doc. 2352.)

         Plaintiffs’ time to respond to Defendants’ compliance reports was further extended to April 1, 2016. In addition to filing a response, Plaintiffs also filed a motion requesting the Court to order additional specific relief regarding Paragraph 3 of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment. Subsequently, Plaintiffs moved for an evidentiary hearing to resolve factual disputes related to Paragraph 5 and their motion to enforce Paragraph 3.

         On March 1, 2017, the Court found that Defendants had demonstrated compliance with 21 of the 31 specific requirements and had not yet demonstrated compliance with the 10 remaining requirements. (Doc. 2404.) The Court ordered Defendants to collect and summarize data for the months of April, May, and June 2017 that showed the extent to which Defendants had complied with the 10 remaining requirements. The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding Defendants’ plan for demonstrating compliance. The Court further ordered that Plaintiffs’ counsel and experts were permitted to tour the Maricopa County Jails, speak with pretrial detainees and staff, and review records related to the 10 remaining requirements.

         On March 1, 2017, the Court also denied Plaintiffs’ motion requesting another evidentiary hearing because the Second Amended Judgment, the Third Amended Judgment, and the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment were based on detailed evidentiary findings and only after the Court concluded that specific relief extended no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right, it was narrowly drawn, and it was the least intrusive means to correct the violation. Specific constitutional deficiencies had been identified, and specific remedies tailored to address those deficiencies had been ordered. In the same March 1, 2017 Order, the Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to enforce the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment, which essentially asked the Court to reconsider its 2014 findings and conclusions regarding termination of the Third Amended Judgment and order additional injunctive relief. (Doc. 2404.)

         In July through September 2017, Defendants reported summaries of their compliance data and produced to Plaintiffs the raw data summarized in the compliance reports. In December 2017, Plaintiffs filed a response to Defendants’ compliance reports, a motion to enforce the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment and for additional relief, and a motion to re-open discovery and for a scheduling order. In June 2018, oral argument was heard on Defendants’ compliance reports and all pending motions, Defendants’ were granted leave to supplement their compliance reports regarding 2 of the 10 remaining requirements. Plaintiffs were granted leave to conduct additional discovery, and their time to respond was extended.

         On August 22, 2018, the Court found that Defendants had demonstrated compliance with 7 of the 10 remaining requirements, and determination of compliance with 2 of the remaining requirements was pending. (Doc. 2483.) Thus, the final remedy ordered by the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment to be addressed was subparagraph (26) of Paragraph 5(a) of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment, which states: “Defendants will adopt and implement a written policy requiring that mental health staff be consulted regarding discipline of any seriously mentally ill pretrial detainee.” (Doc. 2299 at 6.) On August 22, 2018, the Court found:

Defendants have generally shown compliance with subparagraph 5(a)(26), but not for consultation concerning disciplinary isolation. Defendants will be ordered to propose how they will demonstrate that before a seriously mentally ill pretrial detainee is placed in disciplinary isolation, CHS mental health staff are consulted and their recommendations addressing the potential effects of isolation on the pretrial detainee’s mental health are received and considered.

(Doc. 2483 at 35.) The Court ordered: “Defendants have demonstrated compliance with subparagraph (26) of Paragraph 5(a) of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment except to the extent that further evidence is required concerning instances of disciplinary isolation.” (Id. at 38.) The Court further ordered Defendants to “file a proposed plan for demonstrating compliance with subparagraph (26) of Paragraph 5(a) of the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment concerning instances of disciplinary isolation.” (Id. at 39.)

         In its August 22, 2018 Order, the Court also denied Plaintiffs’ motions to enforce the Revised Fourth Amended Judgment and for additional relief and to re-open discovery and for a scheduling order. The Court explained that Plaintiffs essentially sought reconsideration of previous orders and disregarded “the fact that the Court already assessed the existence of constitutional violations; considered the parties’ proposed remedies; ordered specific remedies; provided Plaintiffs extensive access to the Jails’ records, pretrial ...


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