526 F.3d 1190 (9th Cir. 2008), 05-55829, Pierce v. County of Orange

Docket Nº:05-55829, 05-55845.
Citation:526 F.3d 1190
Party Name:Fred PIERCE; Timothy Lee Conn; Fermin Valenzuela; Laurie D. Ellerston, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. COUNTY OF ORANGE, a Governmental entity; Michael S. Carona, individually, Defendants-Appellees. Richard Eugene Smith; Kenneth Wilson; William Brown; Susan Young, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, and Jerry E. Stewart
Case Date:March 24, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 1190

526 F.3d 1190 (9th Cir. 2008)

Fred PIERCE; Timothy Lee Conn; Fermin Valenzuela; Laurie D. Ellerston, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

COUNTY OF ORANGE, a Governmental entity; Michael S. Carona, individually, Defendants-Appellees.

Richard Eugene Smith; Kenneth Wilson; William Brown; Susan Young, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,

and

Jerry E. Stewart; Fred Pierce; Timothy Lee Conn; Fermin Valenzuela; Laurie D. Ellerston, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

Brad Gates, individually and in his official capacity as Orange County Sheriff; William Wallace, individually and in his official capacity as Chief Deputy of the Orange County Sheriffs Department and Jail Division; County of Orange, a governmental entity; Michael S. Carona, individually, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 05-55829, 05-55845.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

March 24, 2008

Argued and Submitted April 12, 2007.

Amended May 15, 2008.

Page 1191

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1192

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1193

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1194

Virginia Keeny and Dan Stormer, Pasadena, CA, and Richard P. Herman, Newport Beach, CA, for the plaintiffs-appellants.

Steven C. Miller, Santa Ana, CA, David D. Lawrence and Christina Sprenger, Orange, CA, for the defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; Gary L. Taylor, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. Nos. CV-01-00981-GLT, CV-75-03075-GLT.

Before: B. FLETCHER, M. MARGARET McKEOWN, and JAY S. BYBEE, Circuit Judges.

ORDER

The opinion filed on March 24, 2008 and published at 519 F.3d 985 (9th Cir.2008), is AMENDED as follows:

(1) At 519 F.3d at 1016, after the sentence ending, "with or without reasonable accommodations, meet the essential eligibility requirements to participate," insert the following additional two sentences:

Whether this "program access" standard may reasonably be met or whether any restriction on access is reasonably related to a legitimate government objective is necessarily fact-specific. We also emphasize that the district court should look at the offerings as a whole and in their entirety and thus the court is not required to ensure that each individual program or service offered at Theo Lacy and Musick is offered in complete parity with an offering at the Central Jail.

(2) At 519 F.3d at 1016, delete the sentence reading, "In particular, the district court should examine the feasibility of offering similar programs at the Central Jail, and the extent to which the programs offered at Theo Lacy or Musick are capable of being offered at the Central Jail without eliminating those programs at Theo Lacy or Musick." Replace

Page 1195

the deleted sentence with the following three sentences:

In particular, the district court should examine the feasibility of offering similar programs at the Central Jail, and the extent to which the programs offered at Theo Lacy or Musick are capable of being offered at the Central Jail without eliminating those programs at Theo Lacy or Musick. There may be other appropriate remedies that provide disabled inmates access to programs and services, and the district court should consider those options as well. Our intention is not to suggest or cause the termination or diminution of programs or facilities other than the Central Jail, but to have the district court explore available options on a full evidentiary record.

Judges McKeown and Bybee have voted to deny the petition for rehearing en banc, and Judge Fletcher has so recommended. The petition for en banc rehearing has been circulated to the full court, and no judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. Fed. R.App. P. 35(b). The petition for rehearing en banc is denied. No further petitions for rehearing or rehearing en banc will be accepted.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

OPINION

BETTY B. FLETCHER, Circuit Judge.

In 2001, plaintiffs-appellants Fred Pierce, Timothy Lee Conn, Fermin Valenzuela, and Laurie D. Ellerston--pre-trial detainees in Orange County's jail facilities--initiated Pierce v. County of Orange, No. 05-55829 (D. Ct. No. 01-981), a class action suit against the County of Orange and Michael S. Carona, the county's sheriff and agent.1 Seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, plaintiffs contend, in essence, that the Orange County jails are operated in an unconstitutional manner, depriving them of opportunities for exercise, unduly limiting their access to common areas, and impermissibly restricting their ability to practice religion. Plaintiffs further assert that they have been deprived of a number of the federal rights previously recognized in Stewart v. Gates, 450 F.Supp. 583 (C.D. Cal. 1978) ("Stewart")--a decision and resulting injunctive orders ("the Stewart orders" or "the Stewart injunction") that established standards for pre-trial detention in Orange County jails. The plaintiffs seek relief for the same injuries under the California Constitution, as well as Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations (which sets minimum standards for county jails) in violation of § 815.6 of the California Government Code, and breach of § 54.1 of the California Civil Code. Finally, the plaintiffs in Pierce assert an equal protection claim under § 1983 based on the denial of equal treatment to disabled detainees, and they advance a separate claim for violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., alleging non-compliant jail facilities and denial of access to programs and services available to non-disabled detainees. On appeal, the plaintiffs also challenge a number of the district court's pre-trial procedural and evidentiary rulings.

After a six day trial, the district court found that the plaintiffs had failed to establish any constitutional injury giving rise to relief under § 1983. The district court went on to find that the fourteen Stewart

Page 1196

orders at issue were no longer necessary, and ordered them all terminated pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 2 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b)(3). The district court likewise rejected plaintiffs' equal protection and ADA claims, finding that although the County was not in "full ADA compliance, [ ] it can reasonably be expected to move toward full compliance."

Having conducted a thorough review of the extensive pre-trial and trial record, we affirm in part and reverse in part. We affirm the district court's pre-trial and evidentiary rulings challenged by the plaintiffs; the district court did not abuse its discretion in its pre-trial management of the case or its decisions related to the admission of evidence. On the merits, we affirm the district court's termination of nearly all of the fourteen Stewart orders at issue. Two of those orders, however, which secure inmates housed in administrative segregation some minimal access to religious services and exercise, may not be terminated. The district court clearly erred in its finding that these two orders are unnecessary to correct a current and ongoing violation of a Federal right. We likewise conclude that, because of physical barriers that deny disabled inmates access to certain prison facilities (bathrooms, showers, exercise and other common areas), and because of disparate programs and services offered to disabled versus non-disabled inmates, the County is in violation of the ADA.

I. PLAINTIFFS' ALLEGATIONS

A. Violation of the Stewart orders governing prison conditions.

Stewart v. Gates was commenced in 1975 when a class of pre-trial detainees challenged the constitutionality of various practices and conditions of confinement in the Orange County Central Jail in Santa Ana, California. 450 F.Supp. 583 (D.C. Cal. 1978). In 1978, the district court presiding over the case issued an injunction, establishing various standards for pre-trial detention. Id. at 590-91 (holding that the court retained jurisdiction to modify the orders upon a showing of good cause). In 1991, the district court made clear that the order applied to all of the Orange County jails: Men's Central Jail, Women's Central Jail, Intake Release Center, James A. Musick Facility, and Theo Lacy Facility.

The Stewart orders--which have been modified in the years since the initial injunction was issued--address detainees' access to telephones, law books, reading materials, and interjail mail to jailhouse lawyers; provide for mattresses, beds, and blankets; establish mealtimes and sleeptimes; require seating while awaiting transport to and from court; and set population caps. The orders also address several issues pertaining specifically to inmates in administrative segregation: their access to religious services, day rooms, exercise, and visitors.3 The Stewart orders subject to challenge in this litigation are reproduced as Appendix A to this opinion.

Page 1197

Specifically, plaintiffs in Pierce maintain that they have been subjected to holding-cell conditions deemed unconstitutional in Stewart and have been denied the minimum mealtime held to be constitutionally required in Stewart. In addition, plaintiffs contend that inmates housed in administrative segregation are denied the minimum access to religious services, the day room, and exercise that Stewart held to be constitutionally required. Plaintiffs sought relief for the alleged violations pursuant to § 1983. Attacking the same conduct, plaintiffs also allege due process violations under the California Constitution, breach of mandatory duties under Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations (which sets minimum standards for county jails) in violation of § 815.6 of the...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP