United States District Court, D. Arizona
G CAMPBELL SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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.
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
[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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 ...