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Prison Legal News v. Ryan, AZ, Settlement Agreement, PLN Censorship, 2024

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SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND RELEASE

This Settlement Agreement and Release (the "Settlement Agreement") is made
and entered into by and among:
"Plaintiff':

Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center (referred
to herein as ''Plaintiff').

"Defendant": State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and
Reentry ("ADCRR"), their agents, representatives, employees, officials,
boards, commissions, departments, agencies, and any and all other
persons, associations and corporations employed by and/or representing
the State of Arizona (the foregoing are collectively referred to herein as
"Defendant").
The "Parties": Plaintiff and Defendant are collectively referred to herein as the "Parties."
RECITALS

A.
Plaintiff filed its "First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive
Relief and Damages Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983" (the "Complaint") in the
United States District Court for the District of Arizona on October 24, 2016, captioned
Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center v. Charles L. Ryan, in his
official capacity as Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and in his individual
capacity; Gail Rittenhouse, in her official capacity as Division Director, Support Services of
the Arizona Department of Corrections and in her individual capacity; Jeff Hood, in his
official capacity as Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and in his
official capacity; Alf Olson, in his official capacity as an employee of the Office of
Publication Review of the Arizona Department of Corrections and in his individual capacity;
and Does 1 to 20, inclusive, case number 2: 15-cv-02245-ROS (the "Action").

B.
On January 26, 2023, the district court entered "Judgment in a Civil Case,"
which ordered and adjudged that "pursuant to the Court's Order filed January 26, 2023,
judgment is entered in favor of defendants and against plaintiff. Plaintiff to take nothing,
and the complaint and action are dismissed." (Doc. 363.)
C.
On March 20, 2024, the district court entered its "Order" (the "Fees
Order"), granting "Plaintiffs Motion for an Award of Attorneys' Fees" (doc. 365) in part
and denying it in part. (Doc. 379.) The Fees Order ordered Defendants to pay Plaintiff
$2,370,881.67 in attorneys' fees and expenses and $8,426.25 of costs. (Id. at 17-18.)

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Settlement Agreement and Release
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D.
On April 3, 2024, Plaintiff filed "Plaintiff's Motion Pursuant to Fed. R.
Civ. P. 60 to Correct March 20, 2024 Fees Order" (doc. 379) ("Rule 60 Motion") in
which it requested the district court to amend the Fees Order to award attorneys' fees and
expenses in the amount of $2,552,229.02 (id. at 5).
E.
On April 17, 2024, Defendants filed "Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's
Motion Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 to Correct March 20, 2024 Fees Order (Doc. 379)."
(Doc. 381.)
F.
On April 23, 2024, Plaintiff filed "Plaintiff's Reply in Support of its Motion
Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 to Correct March 20, 2024 Fees Order (Doc. 379)." (Doc.
382.)
G.
The Parties desire to finally and fully resolve the Fees Order and the Rule
60 Motion, and all past, present, and potential disputes, claims, and issues relating to or
arising out of the Fees Order and the Rule 60 Motion and the facts and circumstances that
gave rise to the Fees Order and the Rule 60 Motion. As a result, the Parties have
negotiated and entered into this Settlement Agreement in an effort to avoid further
expense, inconvenience, and the distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation. The
Parties desire and intend to enter into this Settlement Agreement in full settlement and
discharge of all disputes that may exist between the Parties as to, and all claims arising
from or related to, the Fees Order and the Rule 60 Motion, upon the terms and conditions
set forth below.
AGREEMENT
The Parties agree as follows:

1.

Release and Discharge

For $2,650,000.00, Plaintiff completely releases and forever discharges Defendant
from any and all past, present, or future claims, demands, obligations, actions, causes of
action, and legal theories, whether known or unknown, that have resulted or may result
from the Fees Order and the Rule 60 Motion.
Plaintiff further agrees that Plaintiff has accepted payment of the sum specified
herein as a complete compromise of all matters involving disputed issues of law and fact.
Plaintiff assumes the risk that the facts or law may be other than Plaintiff believes.
Plaintiff hereby instructs its attorneys to dismiss, in its entirety and with prejudice,
the Action no later than five (5) court days after receipt and clearance of the second
payment provided for in numbered paragraph 2 below.
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2.

Payment

In consideration of the release set forth above, the Arizona Department of
Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry agrees to pay the sum of$ 2,650,000.00 (the
"Settlement Amount") to the Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld trust account via wire
transfer, EFT or hard check in two installments as follows: (1) the first installment

in the amount of $1,300,000;00 will be paid on or by May 10, 2024; and (2) the
second and final installment in the amount of $1,350,000.00 will be paid on or by
June 14, 2024.
3.

Warranty of Capacity to Execute Agreement

Plaintiff represents and warrants that no other person or entity has, or has had, any
interest in the claims, demands, obligations, or causes of action referred to in this
Settlement Agreement, except as otherwise set forth herein; that Plaintiff has the sole
right and exclusive authority to execute this Settlement Agreement and receive the sums
specified in it; and that Plaintiff has not sold, assigned, transferred, conveyed, or
otherwise disposed of any of the claims, demands, obligations, or causes of action
referred to in this Settlement Agreement.

4.

Governing Law

This Settlement Agreement shall be construed and interpreted in accordance with
the laws of the State of Arizona. The Parties agree that since each Party is represented by
counsel, any rules or presumptions requiring that any provisions of the document be
construed against the drafter do not apply to the interpretation of this agreement in any
future dispute.

5.

No Admission ofLiability

The Parties understand and expressly agree that nothing contained in this
Settlement Agreement shall be construed as an admission of liability whatsoever. The
Parties acknowledge and agree that the settlement is made in compromise and settlement
of a disputed claim, and that by entering into this Settlement Agreement, the Parties do
not intend to admit the correctness of any Party's position, nor may this Settlement
Agreement or the fact of settlement be used against Defendant as res judicata, collateral
estoppel, or as an admission of fault or liability.

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6.

Additional Documents

The Parties agree to cooperate fully and execute any and all supplementary
documents and to take all additional actions that may be necessary or appropriate to give
full force and effect to the basic terms and intent of this Settlement Agreement.

7.

Entire Agreement and Successors in Interest

This Settlement Agreement contains the entire agreement between Plaintiff and
Defendant with regard to the matters set forth in it and shall be binding upon and inure to the
benefit of the executors, administrators, personal representatives, heirs, successors, and
assi&rns of each.
8.

Effectiveness

This Settlement Agreement shall become effective immediately following
execution by all of the Parties. Electronic copies, photocopies or faxed versions of this
document with all signatures shall have the same effect as the original.

9.

Taxability

Plaintiff further understands, agrees, and acknowledges that neither Defendant, nor
Defendant's attorneys, has made any representations to it concerning the state or federal
taxability and/or non-taxable status of the consideration Plaintiff is to receive under
paragraph 2 of this Settlement Agreement.
10.

Modification

No oral agreement, statement, promise, undertaking, understanding, arrangement,
act or omission of any Party, occurring subsequent to the date of Plaintiffs' signatures
may be deemed an amendment or modification of this Settlement Agreement unless
reduced to writing and signed by the Parties hereto or their respective successors or
assigns.
11.

Severability

The Parties agree that if, for any reason, a provision of this Settlement Agreement
is held unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, this Settlement Agreement
shall be automatically conformed to the law, and the remaining provisions of this
Settlement Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

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Settlement Agreement and Release
12080851

12.

Counterparts

This Settlement Agreement may be executed in multiple counterparts. The
counterparts, when signed and attached to this Settlement Agreement, shall have the same
force and effect as though the Parties had executed one document. Photocopies,
electronic, or facsimile copies of executed copies of this Settlement Agreement may be
treated as an original.

16.

Dismissal with Prejudice.

The Parties agree to take whatever steps are necessary to document the dismissal
with prejudice of Action.

[Remainder of this page intentionally left blank]

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Prison Legal News. v. Ryan, et al.
Settlement Agreement and Release
12080851

I HAVE READ THIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND RELEASE
BEFORE SIGNING IT, AND I FULLY UNDERSTAND THE TERMS.

Plaintiff, Prison Legal News
a project of Human igbts Defense Center and HRDC

Executiv
ector
Human Ri ts Defijse Center
S day of May, 2024.
DATED t is

:::!•lb.ti:=

David J. Bo ey
Attorneys for Plaintiff Prison Legal News
DATED this 2nd day of May, 2024.

SIGNATURE BY ADCRR GENERAL COUNSEL BELOW
IS AUTHORIZATION FOR AND APPROVAL OF PAYMENT OF THE
SETTLEMENT AMOUNT SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 2 ABOVE ON THE
TERMS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 2 ABOVE:
Arizona Department of Corrections,
Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR)
By:----'-'--'-_i-=~- - - Ashley Od , General Counsel
DATED this _
_ day of May, 2024.
3rd

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Settlement Agreement and Release
12080851
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