Cases & Deals

Arizona prison inmates successfully challenge adequacy of medical, mental health, dental care, and conditions in isolation in Arizona state prison system

Client(s) Parsons, Victor, et al.

Jones Day, working with the ACLU's National Prison Project and the Prison Law Office, has tentatively settled litigation brought on behalf of a certified class of Arizona inmates challenging the adequacy of medical, mental health, dental care, and conditions in isolation in the Arizona state prison system under the U.S. constitution. The lawsuit also challenged the conditions of confinement in Arizona's high security prison units. Jones Day attorneys from San Francisco, Houston, New York, and Washington actively participated in all aspects of the litigation. The settlement comes on the heels of significant victories in the case, and just one week before the start of an anticipated three to four month trial. First, on May 20, 2014, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order certifying a class of inmates challenging the prison system's health care policies and practices, and a subclass of inmates challenging the prison system's isolation unit policies and practices. Then, on August 7, 2014 plaintiffs' defeated defendants' motion for summary judgment and began significant trial preparations. On October 14, 2014, plaintiffs extracted a settlement agreement that helps to ensure the adequacy of medical, mental health, and dental care provided to prisoners in the state of Arizona. The tentative settlement, which still awaits Court approval, has garnered national attention. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Arizona must meet more than 100 separate healthcare performance measures and allow plaintiffs' attorneys to monitor compliance with those measures.

The settlement also requires the state to overhaul the rules for prisoners with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement. This settlement represents a tremendous victory for our clients and the substantial commitment by the Firm to serving the less fortunate and advancing the rule of law.

Parsons v. Ryan., No. 13-16396 (9th Cir.)