753 F.2d 779 (9th Cir. 1985), 83-4284, Hoptowit v. Spellman

Docket Nº:83-4284.
Citation:753 F.2d 779
Party Name:Frederick HOPTOWIT, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. John SPELLMAN, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:February 12, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 779

753 F.2d 779 (9th Cir. 1985)

Frederick HOPTOWIT, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,


John SPELLMAN, et al., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 83-4284.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 12, 1985

Argued and Submitted Oct. 3, 1984.

Page 780

Timothy K. Ford, American Civil Liberties Union, Richard P. Blumberg, Mark & Blumberg, Seattle, Wash., for plaintiffs-appellees.

William C. Collins, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., Dept. of Corrections, Olympia, Wash., for defendants-appellants.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Before DUNIWAY, FERGUSON, and NELSON, Circuit Judges.

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DUNIWAY, Circuit Judge:

This is the second appeal in this case. In the prior appeal, Hoptowit v. Ray, 9 Cir., 1982, 682 F.2d 1237 (Hoptowit I ), we affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. Our decision in Hoptowit I is the law of the case, see Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona v. Arizona, 9 Cir., 1983, 718 F.2d 938, 949; Moore v. Jas. H. Matthews & Co., 9 Cir., 1982, 682 F.2d 830, 833-35, and we are required to follow it, absent special considerations that are not present here. In this opinion we assume that the reader is familiar with our decision in Hoptowit I.

I. Failure to Reopen the Record.

After our mandate went down, the trial judge set a date for a hearing on the remanded issues, in November, 1982. Shortly before that hearing, the State had filed a motion for declaratory judgment, asking the court to declare that the penitentiary meets or exceeds the constitutional minima in areas including physical brutality and medical care. At the opening of the hearing the State asked the district court to determine whether or not it was in compliance in those areas. The state also moved for relief from the judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) on the ground that conditions at the penitentiary had improved. The judge allowed the State to file evidence relating to the issue of changed circumstances, but ruled that the appropriate time to consider such evidence would be at a later compliance hearing. He limited the hearing "to enter[ing] an order in conformance with the Ninth Circuit." The judge entered the Order on Remand in May, 1983, and the State appeals.

The State argues that it was error for the district court to refuse to conduct a hearing regarding alleged new defendants and changed circumstances before issuing its order on remand. We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion.

A. New Defendants.

The State argues that the named defendants have been succeeded by others, and, therefore, the district court erred by failing to conduct a hearing to determine whether the new administration has continued and will continue the unconstitutional practices of its predecessors. The State maintains that such a hearing is required under Mayor of City of Philadelphia v. Education Equality League, 1974, 415 U.S. 605, 94 S.Ct. 1323, 39 L.Ed.2d 630, and Spomer v. Littleton, 1974, 414 U.S. 514, 94 S.Ct. 685, 38 L.Ed.2d 694.

The complaint named as defendants the Governor of the State of Washington, the Secretary of its Department of Social and Health Services (the agency responsible for the operation of the penitentiary at that time), as well as various officials within the Corrections Division of that Department. The complaint named these defendants in both their personal and official capacities. The State says that each of the named defendants has either left office or changed position. It also says that, in 1981, a new Department of Corrections was created to administer the Washington State adult corrections program.

Those changes did not require the district court to reopen the record before issuing its order on remand. First, the two defendants principally responsible for the administration of the penitentiary remain in control; they have simply been promoted. Lawrence Kinchloe, formerly the Associate Superintendent, is now the Superintendent. James Spaulding, formerly the Superintendent, is now the Deputy Director of the Division of Prisons of the new Department of Corrections.

Second, the successors of the named defendants, although not named, are themselves parties by reason of Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d)(1):

When a public officer is a party to an action in his official capacity and during its pendency dies, resigns or otherwise ceases to hold office, the action does not abate and his successor is automatically substituted as a party.

The State argues that, despite this rule, an injunction cannot be issued against a

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successor to public office without "supplemental findings of fact...

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