Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nordstrom v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 1, 2019

Scott Douglas Nordstrom, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections; James O'Neil Warden, ASPC Eyman; and Staci Fay, Deputy Warden, Browning Unit, Defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID G CAMPBELL SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is John E. Sansing's motion to enforce a settlement agreement between Plaintiff Scott Nordstrom and Defendants Arizona Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) and others. Doc. 117. The motion is fully briefed, and oral argument has not been requested. For the following reasons, the Court will deny the motion.

         I. Background.

         In October 2015, Plaintiff Nordstrom, a death-sentenced inmate in state custody, brought an action against Defendants for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments related to death row conditions. Doc. 1. Having already planned to make death row inmates eligible for reclassification to close-custody housing, ADOC settled with Plaintiff on March 3, 2017 (“the Settlement”). Doc. 39. The Settlement provided:

[ADOC will] eliminate the existing permanent classification of inmates with a death sentence to maximum custody units, and [] permit death row inmates to seek and obtain re-classification to close custody status based on the criteria currently available to non-death sentenced maximum custody inmates[;]
Death sentenced inmates who are re-classified to close custody status may be housed as a group, rather than with non-death sentenced inmates, provided, however, that nothing herein shall alter existing protocols and procedures relating to protective custody assignments.
[The] conditions and restrictions of confinement, and quality of facilities, utilized for close custody housing for death sentenced inmates shall be equivalent to that of existing close custody housing facilities used for non-death sentenced inmates.
***
Plaintiff's current disciplinary record meets the criteria for reclassification to close custody and he shall be reclassified to such status and transferred to such housing upon adoption of the above referenced amendments, within one hundred twenty (120) days of this stipulation. Nothing in this stipulation shall be interpreted to require Plaintiff to remain classified as a close custody inmate if he no longer meets the requirements for close custody classification.

Id. at 2 ¶¶ 1-3, 6. Based on this settlement agreement, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's action, incorporated the Settlement terms in its order, and retained jurisdiction to enforce the agreement. Doc. 45.

         In September 2018, Plaintiff Nordstrom filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement, asserting that Defendants failed to provide other inmates with the “‘conditions and restrictions of confinement, and quality of facilities' that are ‘equivalent to that of existing close custody housing facilities used for non-death sentenced inmates.'” Doc. 60 at 5. The Court denied the motion, holding that Plaintiff Nordstrom could not seek relief on behalf of other inmates because he “did not bring this case as a class action, and the Settlement was only between Plaintiff and Defendant.” Doc. 72 at 6.

         John E. Sansing has never been a party to this action, but nonetheless seeks relief under the Nordstrom settlement. He asserts that he qualifies for close custody status, and that Defendants have breached the Settlement by denying him an interrelation phone call with his wife on the basis of his death-sentenced status. Doc. 117 at 2. Sansing sought relief through ADOC's grievance process, requesting that the policy be changed to allow all death-sentenced inmates to make and receive interrelation phone calls if they otherwise qualify based on their institutional risk score and custody status. Id. at 2. In response, ADOC scheduled the phone call between Sansing and his wife (who is also incarcerated) and stated that no further action would be taken to amend the policy. Doc. 117 at 16.

         II. Jurisdiction.

         “In general, ‘[e]nforcement of [a] settlement agreement . . . whether through award of damages or decree of specific performance, is more than just a continuation or renewal of the dismissed suit, and hence requires its own basis for jurisdiction.'” Alvarado v. Table Mountain Racheria, 508 F.3d 1008, 1017 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 378 (1994)). But “a federal court has jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement in a dismissed case when the dismissal order incorporates the settlement terms, or the court has retained jurisdiction over the settlement contract” and a party alleges a violation of the settlement. Id. Under those circumstances, a breach of the agreement is a violation of the court's order and the court has jurisdiction to enforce the agreement. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 381. Where an order grants relief to a nonparty, the Court may enforce the order using the same procedures available to a party. See ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.