Dunn et al v. Thomas et al

Filing 1205

PHASE 2A OPINION AND ORDER PRELIMINARILY APPROVING ADA MENTAL HEALTH SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e), the parties jointly move the court to grant preliminary approval to their proposed ADA mental health settle ment agreement in Phase 2A of this litigation; to approve the form of notice to class members of the proposed settlement agreement (attached as Exhibit A); to approve the form for objecting to or commenting on the proposed settlement agreement (attac hed as Exhibit B); and to approve the process for distributing these documents and collecting comments, as further set out below. It is therefore ORDERED that the joint motions for preliminary approval (doc. nos. 1175 and 1197 ) are granted as follows: 1. The proposed settlement agreement (doc. no. 1100 ) is preliminarily approved; final approval will be subject to a hearing and review by this court of any objections to or comments about the agreements terms submitted by class members, an d to the courts resolution of certain outstanding issues identified in open court at a hearing held on February 16, 2017, and set for briefing below. 2. An injunctive-relief settlement class, defined as any current or future inmate in the physical cu stody of the Alabama Department of Corrections who has a disability as defined, as further set out. 3. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, are appointed a s class counsel to represent the settlement class under Rule 23(g). 4. The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is to provide notice of the proposed settlement agreement as outlined below by March 6, 2017, and to collect comments from class membe rs as further outlined below by the submission deadline of April 5, 2017, as further set out. 5. By no later than May 1, 2017, the parties are to confirm in written filings with the court the following agreement, stipulated to during a hearing held i n open court on February 16, 2017: This Agreement does not represent a settlement of all potential current and future claims that prisoners may bring under the ADA or Rehabilitation Acts. 6. By no later than May 1, 2017, the parties are to file pre-h earing briefs, both summarizing by topic and responding to the objections to and comments on the proposed settlement agreement that have been submitted by class members. These briefs must include citations to the page numbers on which any referenced objections or comments appear in the docketed compilations of responses. 7. By no later than May 1, 2017, the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) will file a brief concerning the reasonableness of the proposed settlement agreement, which wil l include one or more expert opinions addressing the adequacy of the settlement. 8. A fairness hearing is set for 10:00 a.m. on June 2, 2017, in Courtroom 2FMJ of the Frank M. Johnson Jr. United States Courthouse Complex, One Church Street, Montgomer y, Alabama. 9. After receiving objections and comments from class members, the court will determine from whom it intends to hear oral testimony. This testimony will be heard by videoconference from various ADOC facilities. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 2/22/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(furn: AG, Calendar)(kh, )

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Response to Proposed Class Action Settlement You may be affected by the settlement of mental health claims made under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”) in the lawsuit entitled Braggs v. Dunn, No. 2:14-cv-00601-MHT-TFM (previously Dunn v. Dunn). A notice of the terms of the settlement has been posted in your facility and you can review a copy of the Proposed Settlement in the law library or, if there isn’t a library, in the area where other inmate information is made available in your facility. If you cannot go to the law library, you can request a copy of the Proposed Settlement from ADOC personnel or by writing to: William Van Der Pol, Jr., Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, Box 870395, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487 or ADA Mental Health Settlement Questions, Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Alabama, 36104. If you are a prisoner with a mental health disability, you have a right to comment or object to the Proposed Settlement. If you wish to comment or object, please fill out this form and put it in the comment box at your facility that has been made available for accepting these comments. This box is located by the box where inmate request forms are placed and is marked “ADA Mental Health Settlement Comment Box”. If, due to your housing assignment, you are not allowed access to the box, you should give the completed form (sealed in an envelope, if you wish) to the following persons who will place the form in the box: • in Segregation Units, the forms will be collected by members of the Institutional Segregation Review Board during normal rounds; • in the Infirmary, Mental Health Units, Stabilization Units, and Death Row, the forms will be collected by the Captain who is responsible for those units and deposited in the Comment Box; • in Segregation Units/Holding Units at Work Release Facilities, the forms will be collected by the Warden. You can also mail the completed form to: Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, P.O. Box 711, Montgomery, AL 36101-0711. If you need assistance in completing this form, please notify a Correctional Officer. You must include your name, AIS Number, and signature on this form or it will not be considered. ALL COMMENTS MUST BE PLACED IN THE ADA MENTAL HEALTH SETTLEMENT COMMENT BOX, PROVIDED TO THE APPROPRIATE ADOC OFFICER OR REPRESENTATIVE OR POST MARKED BY _____________ 2017, TO BE CONSIDERED. Inmate Name (print) AIS Number Inmate Signature Date Do you object to or wish to comment on any of the following provisions of the Proposed Settlement Agreement? If so, please circle the topic and explain your comment or objection below. Page 1 of 2 1503255.1 Topics (circle one or more): Housing / Grouping Prisoners with Disabilities to Provide Services Life Skills / Adaptive Behavior Training for Prisoners with Intellectual Disabilities Security Levels Access to Programs Emergencies Access to Facilities Identification of Disabilities Quality Assurance / Monitoring Tracking of Disabilities & Facility Transfers Attorneys’ Fees ADA Coordinators Accommodation Request / Grievance Process Other ______________________________ Please write out the reasons for your objection/comment below or it will not be considered. You may attach additional pages and/or supporting documentation. Documents attached will not be returned. Do you wish to testify under oath (by videoconference form an ADOC facility) about your opinions on the Proposed Settlement? Yes No Page 2 of 2 1503255.1

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