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Armstrong v. Brown

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 4, 2013

John ARMSTRONG; James Amauric; Richard Ponciano; Jack Swensen; Billy Beck; Judy Fendt; Walter Fratus; Gregory Sandoval; Darlene Madison; Peter Richardson; Steven Hill; David Rose; David Blessing; Elio Castro; Elmer Umbenhower; Raymond Hayes; Gene Horrocks; Kiah Mincey; Clifton Feathers; Willie Johnson; David Badillo; James Simmons; Flora Abrams; Joey Gough; Timothy Whisman, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Edmund G. BROWN, Jr.; Michael Minor; Matthew L. Cate; Diana Toche; Chris Meyer; Kathleen Dickinson; Robert Ambroselli, Defendants-Appellants. John Armstrong; James Amauric; Richard Ponciano; Jack Swensen; Billy Beck; Judy Fendt; Walter Fratus; Gregory Sandoval; Darlene Madison; Peter Richardson; Steven Hill; David Rose; David Blessing; Elio Castro; Elmer Umbenhower; Raymond Hayes; Gene Horrocks; Kiah Mincey; Clifton Feathers; Willie Johnson; David Badillo; James Simmons; Flora Abrams; Joey Gough; Timothy Whisman, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Edmund G. Brown, Jr.; Michael Minor; Matthew L. Cate; Diana Toche; Chris Meyer; Kathleen Dickinson; Margarita Perez, Defendants-Appellants.

Argued and Submitted Sept. 5, 2012.

Submitted Sept. 27, 2013.[*]

Page 956

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 957

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of the State of California; Jonathan L. Wolff, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jay C. Russell, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Giam M. Nguyen, Janelle M. Smith, and Jay M. Goldman (argued), Deputies Attorney General, San Francisco, CA, for Defendants-Appellants.

Michael W. Bien, Gay C. Grunfeld (argued), Lisa Ells, Blake Thompson, and Michael Freedman, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, San Francisco, CA; Warren E. George, Bingham McCutchen LLP, San Francisco, CA; Donald Specter and Rebekah Evenson, Prison Law Office, Berkeley, CA; and Linda Kilb, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Inc., Berkeley, CA, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, Chief District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 4:94-cv-02307-CW.

Before: STEPHEN REINHARDT, A. WALLACE TASHIMA, and MARSHA S. BERZON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

REINHARDT, Circuit Judge:

Since 1994, disabled state prisoners and parolees have been engaged in a seemingly never-ending struggle with California state officials over whether defendants must provide disability accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ) and the Rehabilitation Act. These accommodations include basic necessities of life for disabled prisoners and parolees, such as wheelchairs, sign language interpreters, accessible beds and toilets, and tapping canes for the blind. Notwithstanding a series of careful district court orders dating back to 1996 and an opinion by this Court affirming the issuance of a permanent injunction, defendants have resisted complying with their federal obligations at every turn. These appeals provide no exception. Defendants contend that a narrow portion of the class of disabled state prisoners and parolees is no longer eligible to benefit from the district court's remedial orders due to a change in California Penal Code ยง 3056. We reject that contention and affirm the district court's latest enforcement orders.

BACKGROUND

Our most recent opinion in this case summarized its long history. See Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, 622 F.3d 1058, 1063-64 (9th Cir.2010). In that opinion, we affirmed the validity of an ADA regulation [1] and concluded that defendants " cannot shirk their obligations to plaintiffs under federal law by housing them in facilities operated by the third-party counties." Id. at 1074. We made clear that " defendants have the responsibility of ensuring that their prisoners are afforded their rights under the ADA, regardless of where the State incarcerates them." Id. at 1072.

Since our 2010 decision, plaintiffs have renewed their motion in the district court to enforce the injunction against defendants as it pertains to class members ...


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