United States District Court, N.D. New York
V.W., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian DERECK WILLIAMS, R.C., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian SANDRA CHAMBERS, C.I., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian VERTELL PENDARVIS, M.R., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian KAREN RAYMOND, F.K., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian KASHINDE KABAGWIRA, and J.P., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian ALISSA QUIONES, Plaintiffs,
EUGENE CONWAY, Onondaga County Sheriff in his official capacity, ESTEBAN GONZALEZ, Chief Custody Deputy of the Onondaga County Justice Center, in his official capacity, KEVIN M. BRISSON, Assistant Chief Custody Deputy, in his official capacity, and SYRACUSE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendants.
YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION Attorneys for Plaintiffs,
CHRISTOPHER T. DUNN, ESQ. MARIKO HIROSE, ESQ. PHILIP L.
DESGRANGES, ESQ. AADHITHI PADMANABHAN, ESQ. MARIANA L. KOVEL,
SERVICES OF CENTRAL NEW YORK Attorneys for Plaintiffs, JOSHUA
T. COTTER, ESQ. SAMUEL C. YOUNG, ESQ. SUSAN M. YOUNG, ESQ.
SANFORD, HEISLER LLP Attorneys for Plaintiffs, AIMEE KRAUSE
ONONDAGA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF LAW Attorneys for defendants
Eugene Conway, CAROLL. RHINEHART, ESQ.
SCHOENECK LAW FIRM Attorneys for defendant Syracuse City,
JONATHAN B. FELLOWS, ESQ.
RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN United States Attorney for the Northern
District of New York, JOHN D. HOGGAN, JR., ESQ. Ass't
United States Attorney.
STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Civil Rights Division, Special
Litigation Section, KYLE SMIDDIE, ESQ. A TTICUS LEE, ESQ.
- CNY CHAPTER LEGAL COMMITTEE Attorneys for Amici Curiae,
LANESSA L. OWENS, ESQ.
ORDER GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION
N. HURD United States District Judge.
September 21, 2016, the named plaintiffs commenced this
action seeking relief on behalf of themselves and a putative
class of fellow 16- and 17-year-olds being detained at the
Onondaga County Justice Center (the "Justice
Center") by defendants Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene
Conway, Chief Custody Deputy Esteban Gonzalez, and Assistant
Chief Custody Deputy Kevin Brisson (the "Onondaga County
defendants"). According to plaintiffs, declaratory and
injunctive relief was necessary to end the Onondaga County
defendants' routine practice of imposing solitary
confinement on juveniles being held at the Justice Center.
Plaintiffs further alleged that the Syracuse City School
District (the "School District"), which had
contracted with the Justice Center to provide educational
services to incarcerated juveniles, denied juveniles in
solitary confinement the minimum educational instruction
required by law.
Memorandum-Decision & Order issued on February 22, 2017,
plaintiffs' motions for class certification and for a
preliminary injunction were granted while the School
District's motion for summary judgment was denied.
V.W. by & through Williams v. Conway.
-F.Supp.3d- 2017 WL 696808 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 2017).
Thereafter, the parties entered into an interim settlement
agreement and worked toward negotiating final terms that
would provide significant relief to members of the
now-certified class and subclass.
26, 2017, the parties jointly moved for preliminary approval
of a final class action settlement agreement (the
"Settlement Agreement"). This joint motion was
granted on June 28, 2017 (the "June 28 Order"). At
that time, the Court approved the parties' proposed
Notice to the Class of the Settlement Agreement (the
"Notice") and directed the Onondaga County
defendants to distribute the Notice in accordance with the
parties' proposed terms.
June 28 Order further provided an appropriate time period in
which class members could lodge written objections to the
Notice's terms. The June 28 Order also set Monday, August
28, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. as the date and time that a Fairness
Hearing would be conducted on the record in Utica, New York
to determine whether final approval of the Settlement
Agreement would be granted. The parties were later informed
that the Fairness Hearing would be adjourned until 2:00 p.m.
to permit for a three-hour period during which any objectors
would have an opportunity to make their presence known to the
Court. In anticipation of the Fairness Hearing, the parties
jointly moved for final approval of the class action
settlement by submitting a memorandum of law, supporting
declaration, and proposed order.
August 28, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., a Fairness Hearing was
conducted on the record in Utica, New York. At that time, no
class members had lodged any written objections to the
Settlement Agreement. Further, no class member or any other
party was heard to object to the Settlement Agreement either
before or during the Fairness Hearing. Finally, a review of
the parties' joint motion papers as well as their
attached submissions revealed that the ...