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Injunction Orders Protection for Prisoner Witnesses in California Disability Lawsuit

The court’s July 2, 2020, order found that the plaintiffs had shown a likelihood of success on the merits on their claim that the defendants and their employees had violated the court’s March 17, 2020, order and the Americans with Disabilities Act by retaliating against the two class members (witnesses). The March order specifically ordered the defendants not to take retaliatory action against any of the prisoner witnesses in the suit.

In its July order, the court found that the plaintiffs had demonstrated they were “likely to show at Defendants and their employees have retaliated against the Witnesses for participating in this lawsuit and for supporting the Motion to Stop Defendants from Assaulting, Abusing, and Retaliating Against Incarcerated People with Disabilities” at RJD and statewide.

The plaintiffs were likely to prove that the defendants had “been unable or unwilling to address the safety concerns of the Witnesses in their current housing placements at RJD,” wrote the court. “In light of the death of a previous witness who submitted a declaration in support of the RJD Motion who was housed in the same unit as the Witnesses are currently, as well as the June 17, 2020, assault on one of the two Witnesses and incidents of retaliation described” by other prisoners, the court found the Witnesses’ lives would “remain in danger and their future participation as Witnesses will be jeopardized.”

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Related legal case

Armstrong, et al. v. Newsom, et al.