CREEC and Co-Counsel File Preliminary Injunction in Fraihat v ICE Case

Press Release Civil Rights Organizations Seek Emergency Court Ruling for Immediate COVID-19 Protections for People in Immigration Detention Centers RIVERSIDE, Calif. –– Early this morning, a group of civil rights legal organizations and their pro bono law firm partners filed an emergency application for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California seeking a court order requiring that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) take immediate steps to protect people in immigration detention facilities from COVID-19, particularly those at heightened risk. The motion immediately follows ICE’s own admission of the first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 of a person in ICE detention. The motion argues that if ICE cannot or will not immediately take steps to ensure that medically vulnerable people are protected from COVID-19 – including providing timely access to qualified and necessary healthcare – then the Court should order ICE to release those individuals in the interest of public health. The preliminary injunction is being requested as part of an existing class action lawsuit, Fraihat v. ICE, on behalf of the nearly 40,000 people held in ICE detention facilities throughout ICE’s detention system. Based on first-hand observations from attorneys serving clients inside detention centers and direct reports from people who are detained, the current conditions are medically dangerous and fail to meet standard public health recommendations for addressing the pandemic. According to the court filing, ICE has not provided even the most basic public health protections inside detention centers. Its failure to take preventative measures – like reducing crowding to implement social distancing or providing soap and hand sanitizer – places individuals with underlying...

Final approval!

Today was the final approval hearing in our long-running Taco Bell litigation.  I’m happy to report that the judge approved the settlement and our motion for attorneys’ fees.  It’s always fun to appear for a final approval hearing, and to be before the Court in a good and collaborative mood, rather than an adversarial mood.  Here’s the team that gathered for the hearing And here are the team members who got the memo: Our deepest thanks to all of our team members, friends, and family who have contributed to this outcome!...

Class Cert Granted in Prison Outdoor Exercise Case

CREEC is happy to announce that Judge Martínez granted class cert in Decoteau v. Raemisch, the case in which we are challenging the lack of outdoor exercise at the Colorado State Penitentiary.   The Court certified the following class under Rule 23(b)(2): All inmates who are now or will in the future be housed in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary and who are now or will in the future be subjected to the policy and practice of refusing to provide such inmates access to outdoor exercise. We are privileged to work with the University of Denver’s Civil Rights Clinic on this case.   Kudos to students Amelia Messegee, Ryan Burchell, and Rachel Martin, and professors Lindsey Webb and Lauren Fontana for all their great work. “Outdoor” exercise at...

Breaking News: Moeller v. Taco Bell Settled!

On the eve of a trial scheduled for this Friday in federal court in Oakland, the parties to a disability access class action lawsuit brought against Taco Bell in California have announced a settlement of the long-running case.   The action, originally filed in 2002, was brought on behalf of customers who use wheelchairs and scooters; the suit claimed that Taco Bell restaurants did not provide accessible facilities as required by law.   The settlement will ensure that Taco Bell restaurants are maintained in compliance with all legal requirements for accessibility. The lawsuit challenged a variety of access barriers, including queue lines too narrow for wheelchairs, inadequate parking spaces, and doors too heavy to be opened by persons with limited mobility.   After the lawsuit was filed, Taco Bell engaged in significant efforts to improve access at its California restaurants.   The agreement ensures that access will be maintained by requiring daily surveys by managers, surveys every six months by compliance monitors, and training of Taco Bell managers and employees.   It also ensures that restaurants that are subsequently acquired by Taco Bell are accessible. One of the original four plaintiffs, Katherine Corbett, had encountered many of these barriers when she and her daughter would eat at Taco Bell restaurants near her home in Richmond.   Ms. Corbett, who uses a wheelchair, remarked about the settlement:   “I love the food at Taco Bell and I am delighted that I will be able to enjoy it without any barriers.”   Tim Fox, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and one of the attorneys for class,...

Big thanks to our amici!

The Department of Justice and a terrific collection of disability rights organizations filed amicus briefs before the Tenth Circuit in our Hollister case.   A big thanks to Mark Gross and Sasha Samberg-Champion at the DOJ and to Michelle Uzeta, who drafted the brief on behalf of the disability rights amici:   Legal Center for People with Disabilities And Older People, American Association of People with Disabilities, Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities, Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Disability Rights Legal Center, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, National Disability Rights Network, and National Federation of the Blind. We deeply appreciate the support and enjoyed reading the excellent briefs! 2014-02-10 Legal Center etc Amicus Brief2014-02-10 DOJ...

CREEC and co-counsel file respose brief in Hollister appeal

We filed our response brief to the 10th Circuit in the Hollister case yesterday. As our many blogfans know, CREEC and the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition are challenging the Raised Porch Entrances at Hollister clothing stores as violations of Title III of the ADA: Shoppers who use wheelchairs have no access to the porch or the entrances from it to the store; instead, they have to go around to the side to accessible entrances decorated to look like shuttered windows. We prevailed before the district court and Hollister appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.   The appeal is a real law-nerd smörgÃ¥sbord*:   Hollister challenged standing, class certification, the merits (why the porches violate the ADA), and the injunction to fix the porches.   Our response brief addresses all of these arguments.   From the statement of the case:         The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) is a “broad mandate” to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, and to “integrate them “˜into the economic and social mainstream of American life.'”   PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 675-76 (2001) (citations omitted).   Congress found that “historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities.”   42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(2).   Thus, “[i]ntegration is fundamental to the purposes of the ADA.   Provision of segregated accommodations and services relegate persons with disabilities to second-class citizen status.”   H. Rep. 101-485(III), 101st Cong., 2d Sess, at 56, reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 445, 479 (“House Rep. pt. 3″).   The goal of the ADA is to “”˜eradicat[e] the “invisibility of the handicapped.”’  ...