On April 26, 2023 attorneys for the plaintiff class in Hernandez v. Monterey filed a motion in federal court to enforce the settlement agreement and implementation plan in the case that had been approved by the Court in 2015. The motion asks the Court to sanction Wellpath for failing to meet its Court-ordered requirements in the provision of medical, mental health, and dental care to people incarcerated at the Monterey County Jail.
In 2013, RBGG sued the County of Monterey and its for-profit medical provider, Wellpath, challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the County’s Jail. In 2014, RBGG defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained a ruling holding that our clients could assert ADA Title III claims against the Jail’s private medical provider. See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014). The federal court subsequently certified a class of the approximately 950 prisoners in the Jail, along with a sub-class of prisoners with disabilities. See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015). On April 14, 2015, the court granted a sweeping preliminary injunction on behalf of the class and sub-class. See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015). The court approved the parties’ settlement on August 18, 2015, which requires defendants to comply with the requirements of the preliminary injunction and a comprehensive set of implementation plans to provide constitutionally adequate services at the Jail.
Wellpath has long failed to achieve substantial compliance under the implementation plans. In May 2020, the Court required Wellpath to develop “corrective action plans to remedy all the areas for which the neutral monitors have found Defendants to be not in substantial compliance.” When compliance had not improved two years later, the Court issued another stipulated order on June 3, 2022, affording the neutral monitors greater power to provide training and supervision to Wellpath’s under-supported line staff.
According to the newly-filed motion: “For more than seven and a half years, Wellpath has defied its Court-ordered obligations and provided systemically inadequate care to people incarcerated at the Monterey County Jail (hereafter “MCJ” or “Jail”). The result of Wellpath’s persistent noncompliance with this Court’s orders and its own remedial plan is a death rate at the Jail more than twice the national average and a suicide rate more than three times the average for California jails. . . . The resulting deficiencies in medical, mental health, and dental care cause daily pain and suffering, including serious medical and dental complications, untreated chronic illnesses, suicide attempts, and deaths. This Court must intervene and order Wellpath to finally meet its remedial obligations.”
The motion is here.